Rocky Mountain College associate professor Kayhan Ostovar is offering a conservation class exploring East Africa this spring.

Rocky Mountain College will offer a spring semester class titled “Tropical Ecology – Conservation in East Africa,” which will include a two-week trip to the Serengeti ecosystem with chances to interact with the Maasai and visit a remote Hadzabe “Bushmen” community.

The Serengeti ecosystem is one of Africa’s most important biological resources, as well as a critical source of tourism revenue for Tanzania. Both the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater are renowned World Heritage Sites, heavily visited and praised by Western tourists as successful models of conservation. However, these sites are also places with intense wildlife/human conflict with local communities living in or near these protected areas bearing the brunt of wildlife damages.

While the course will address specific ecological complexities in different ecosystems and conservation challenges for different species, it will also focus on the human dimension. By visiting several parks, reserves, and community-based conservation management zones students will learn about the challenges faced by conservationists and the local communities. The course will specifically examine the importance of the “Yellowstone National Park model” of conservation and the influence this has had on the development of protected areas in east Africa. While highly lauded by many conservationists, this model has also been criticized due to the restrictions imposed on ethnic groups and indigenous communities that often face eviction from their traditional lands and loss of access to essential natural resources.

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This course will meet once a week as an evening class starting in January. This will be the third time RMC has offered this experience to a select few members of the community to audit this course and join the summer trip to Tanzania.

Contact associate professor of Environmental Science and Fish and Wildlife Conservation Kayhan Ostovar at kayhan.ostovar@rocky.edu or 657-1175 for more details regarding audit fees and additional travel costs.

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