A Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is an area of communal land set aside exclusively as habitat for wildlife by member villages.
Following the principles of community-based natural resource management (CBNRM), the key underlying assumption of the WMA concept is that providing local communities with economic benefits and involving them in management will promote both long-term health of wildlife and habitat and rural economic development.
Communities will thus have a vested interest in the conservation of natural resources because they benefit directly from their sustainable management. WMAs were formally adopted as an approach for involving communities in wildlife management. WMAs can provide local residents with benefits through associated enterprises that use either wildlife or other natural resources in the WMA. Before the introduction of the WMA approach, there were no legal frameworks for communities to participate in wildlife management, although individual villages could, on a small scale and in an ad hoc manner, enter into business contracts
with the private sector. Without fences controlling movement of large iconic African mammals such as elephants, zebras and lions, multiple villages preserving large tracts of land together are able to collectively capitalize on potential tourism opportunities and more effectively protect wildlife in the area. Such ventures had few safeguards to ensure economic or environmental sustainability. WMAs allow communities to secure user rights to the wildlife resources on their land, and the legal framework allows communities to benefit directly from any enterprise that is based on wildlife.
In 2003 Tanzania established 16 pilot Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs), with the aim of enhancing conservation and poverty alleviation through sustainable utilization of natural resources.
Currently there are 38 Wildlife Management Area – WMAs countrywide at different stages of development of which 17 WMAs namely:
i) Tunduru (NALIKA), ii) Liwale (MAGINGO), iii) Ngarambe/Tapika (MUNGATA), iv) Wami-Mbiki (WAMI-MBIKI SOCIETY), v) Pawaga-ldodi (MBOMIPA), vi) Ipole (JUHIWAI), vii) Uyumbu (UWIMA), viii) Burunge (JUHIBU), ix) Ikona (JUHIWAIKO), x) Enduimet (ENDUIMET), xi) Mbarang’andu (MBARANG’ANDU), xii) Ukutu(JUKUMU), xiii) Makame (INDEMA), xiv) Makao (JUHIWAPOMA), xv) Kimbande (KIMBANDE), xvi) Kisungule (KISUNGULE) xvii) Chingoli (CHINGOLI).