IOSF was delighted to support William Mgomo, our African Community Education Officer, for his latest otter work in Tanzania. Many of you will know all about William’s extensive otter projects in his area and the benefits he is having on otters and communities.
William recently visited five schools across the region. He visited Mtama and Lipumba Primary Schools in the Mbinga Region reaching out to 555 children and then went on to Lituhi, Litimba and Lihuhu schools near Lake Nyasa delivering his message to a further 944 children!
During his visits, William emphasised the importance of otter conservation, their habitats, ecology, challenges they face and the importance of how living organisms are all dependant on each other.
William said “I tried to give them some examples of other species that we perceive as the problem in our lives, without knowing their roles in ecosystems such as snakes and flies. Where snakes are dangerous, they help us reduce the number of rats (rats destruct crops and reduce the yield). A fly is an agent of spreading diseases such as cholera but it helps in decomposition of materials. So, every organism as its own role in ecosystem. So, it is better to preserve otters and stop killing them for the purpose of getting meat, medicine, or as an enemy.”
Following his school visits, William also engaged with fishermen across the region. In the Mbinga district he visited the fishing ponds of Daniel Mlawa, the headmaster of one of the schools, and thankfully he reported no conflicts with otters and his fish. Furthermore, on Lake Nyasa, he chatted to 46 fishermen and found that there are two species of otter on the lake.
Although the fishermen have no conflict or issues with otters he was made aware of poachers that are hunting otters for bushmeat. William was fortunate enough to be able to speak to one of the poachers and really emphasise the importance of otters in the region. The poacher promised that he would stop poaching and become an ambassador to help otters!
William continues to be a superb ambassador for otters and in just over a year alone, has held presentations spreading the word of otters to over 2200 kids.
William finished by saying “Education awareness went well with some little challenges. The students and fishermen loved the lessons and promised me that they would be a good ambassador of otters and spread the positive word to other people.”
We cannot emphasis enough how brilliant William is and thank him for his continued passion for otters.