The catastrophe of the century, the COVID-19 pandemic, has caused the collapse of the tourism sector worldwide, not only depriving numerous tourism workers and businesses of income, but also depriving many critical conservation areas of one of the important (and often only) source of funding. The Chumbe Island Coral Park in Zanzibar/Tanzania is one of those affected.
Nearly 30 years ago, this non-profit project was founded as the world's first privately managed marine and forest sanctuary, with a species-rich coral reef and one of the few remaining semi-arid coastal virgin forests in East Africa.
For decades Chumbe has been very successful, becoming the first protected area in the world to fully finance park management from funds generated by sustainable ecotourism; with the seven-bungalow ecolodge on the island generating funds for all conservation operations and an extensive environmental education programme for fishermen, schools, officials and the local population.
Now suddenly all our visitor bookings have been cancelled, all flights to Tanzania have been suspended until further notice, all our income has gone, and it is not yet possible to predict what COVID-19 will mean for the population and economy of the country.
Yet work must continue to protect this vital park. The species-rich coral reef provides an essential fish nursery supporting increased yields for neighboring fishing grounds; which are more important than ever just now to ensure food security for local people. Our rangers, themselves former fishermen, have successfully protected this area around the clock since the project began almost 30 years ago, resulting in Chumbe being one of the best preserved and richest reefs in the region, with 59 coral species and more than 500 documented fish species. The island's virgin forest is home to endangered species, such as the Aders‘ duikers antelope and is an important sanctuary for the world's largest living land crab, the Coconut crab, which is the focus of a current research project.
We have 43 local employees in our Chumbe Team, many of whom have been with us since the project began. On average, each of these team members supports 12 relatives, including family members and associated community members. Like a family, the team has overcome many challenges in the past, but COVID-19 has hit them particularly hard. The team are committed to continue their work where possible, even though salaries have withered, and they will find it hard to provide the barest essentials for their families.
We need your support, not only to keep operations going, but also to ensure all team members continue to have health insurance for themselves and their families through this crisis.
Please help us to continue to protect this park for future generations, and support the team through this critical period.
Money raised on GoFundMe will help us to cover the following (until end of December 2020):
• Guarantee continued day and night ranger patrols to protect the reef sanctuary and forest reserve.
• Stipend support for all of the Chumbe Team to cover bare essentials for their families in lieu of salaries.
• Coverage of full health insurance for all team members and their families for as long as the crisis persists.
Every penny will make a difference:
£1 GBP – covers the cost of a reusable protective face mask for the rangers.
£5 GBP – covers the cost of fuel for one day of patrolling.
£15 GBP – covers health insurance for one team member and their family for one month.
£20 GBP – covers one month’s food costs for one ranger on the island.
£100 GBP – covers one months reduced stipend salary for one team member.
Every single donation counts. Thank you for your support!
This appeal is organized by team members and friends of Chumbe island. We are collecting the money through a UK based account, before transferring it to Zanzibar. 100% of the money donated will be sent to Chumbe. We will communicate updates regularly via our social media platforms.
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