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Concept: Tanzania


Aflatoxin, a mycotoxin found commonly in maize and peanuts worldwide, is associated with liver cancer, acute toxicosis, and growth impairment in humans and animals. In Tanzania, sunflower seeds are a source of snacks, cooking oil, and animal feed. These seeds are a potential source of aflatoxin contamination. However, reports on aflatoxin contamination in sunflower seeds and cakes are scarce. The objective of the current study was to determine total aflatoxin concentrations in sunflower seeds and cakes from small-scale oil processors across Tanzania. Samples of sunflower seeds (n = 90) and cakes (n = 92) were collected across two years, and analyzed for total aflatoxin concentrations using a direct competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). For seed samples collected June-August 2014, the highest aflatoxin concentrations were from Dodoma (1.7-280.6 ng/g), Singida (1.4-261.8 ng/g), and Babati-Manyara (1.8-162.0 ng/g). The highest concentrations for cakes were from Mbeya (2.8-97.7 ng/g), Dodoma (1.9-88.2 ng/g), and Singida (2.0-34.3 ng/g). For seed samples collected August-October 2015, the highest concentrations were from Morogoro (2.8-662.7 ng/g), Singida (1.6-217.6 ng/g) and Mbeya (1.4-174.2 ng/g). The highest concentrations for cakes were from Morogoro (2.7-536.0 ng/g), Dodoma (1.4-598.4 ng/g) and Singida (3.2-52.8 ng/g). In summary, humans and animals are potentially at high risk of exposure to aflatoxins through sunflower seeds and cakes from micro-scale millers in Tanzania; and location influences risk.

Concepts: Aflatoxin, ELISA, ELISPOT, Assay, Eva Engvall, Peanut, Tanzania, Sunflower


Researchers increasingly view animal personality traits as products of natural selection. We present data that describe the personalities of 128 eastern chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) currently living in or who lived their lives in the Kasekela and Mitumba communities of Gombe National Park, Tanzania. We obtained ratings on 24 items from an established, reliable, well-validated questionnaire used to study personality in captive chimpanzee populations. Ratings were made by former and present Tanzanian field assistants who followed individual chimpanzees for years and collected detailed behavioral observations. Interrater reliabilities across items ranged from acceptable to good, but the personality dimensions they formed were not as interpretable as those from captive samples. However, the personality dimensions corresponded to ratings of 24 Kasekela chimpanzees on a different questionnaire in 1973 that assessed some similar traits. These correlations established the repeatability and construct validity of the present ratings, indicating that the present data can facilitate historical and prospective studies that will lead to better understanding of the evolution of personality in chimpanzees and other primates.

Concepts: Human, Hominidae, Chimpanzee, Tanzania, Jane Goodall, Common Chimpanzee, Gombe Stream National Park, Chimpanzees


With land privatization and fencing of thousands of hectares of communal grazing areas, East Africa is struggling with one of the most radical cultural and environmental changes in its history. The 668,500-hectare Greater Mara is of crucial importance for the great migrations of large mammals and for Maasai pastoralist culture. However, the magnitude and pace of these fencing processes in this area are almost completely unknown. We provide new evidence that fencing is appropriating land in this area at an unprecedented and accelerating speed and scale. By means of a mapped series of multispectral satellite imagery (1985-2016), we found that in the conservancies with the most fences, areal cover of fenced areas has increased with >20% since 2010. This has resulted in a situation where fencing is rapidly increasing across the Greater Mara, threatening to lead to the collapse of the entire ecosystem in the near future. Our results suggest that fencing is currently instantiating itself as a new permanent self-reinforcing process and is about to reach a critical point after which it is likely to amplify at an even quicker pace, incompatible with the region’s role in the great wildebeest migration, wildlife generally, as well as traditional Maasai pastoralism.

Concepts: Human migration, Pasture, Area, Tanzania, Kenya, Masai Mara, Wildebeest, Great Migrations


Weather extremes have harmful impacts on communities around Lake Victoria, where thousands of fishermen die every year because of intense night-time thunderstorms. Yet how these thunderstorms will evolve in a future warmer climate is still unknown. Here we show that Lake Victoria is projected to be a hotspot of future extreme precipitation intensification by using new satellite-based observations, a high-resolution climate projection for the African Great Lakes and coarser-scale ensemble projections. Land precipitation on the previous day exerts a control on night-time occurrence of extremes on the lake by enhancing atmospheric convergence (74%) and moisture availability (26%). The future increase in extremes over Lake Victoria is about twice as large relative to surrounding land under a high-emission scenario, as only over-lake moisture advection is high enough to sustain Clausius-Clapeyron scaling. Our results highlight a major hazard associated with climate change over East Africa and underline the need for high-resolution projections to assess local climate change.

Concepts: Precipitation, Climate, Weather, Storm, Thunderstorm, Tanzania, Projection, Lake Victoria


We have analyzed the ranging patterns of the Mimikire group (M group) of chimpanzees in the Mahale Mountains National Park, Tanzania. During 16 years, the chimpanzees moved over a total area of 25.2 or 27.4 km(2), as estimated by the grid-cell or minimum convex polygon (MCP) methods, respectively. Annually, the M group used an average of 18.4 km(2), or approximately 70 %, of the total home-range area. The chimpanzees had used 80 % of their total home range after 5 years and 95 % after 11 years. M group chimpanzees were observed more than half of the time in areas that composed only 15 % of their total home range. Thus, they typically moved over limited areas, visiting other parts of their range only occasionally. On average, the chimpanzees used 7.6 km(2) (in MCP) per month. Mean monthly range size was smallest at the end of the rainy season and largest at the end of the dry season, but there was much variability from year to year. The chimpanzees used many of the same areas every year when Saba comorensis fruits were abundant between August and January. In contrast, the chimpanzees used several different areas of their range in June. Here range overlap between years was relatively small. Over the 16 years of the study we found that the M group reduced their use of the northern part of their range and increased their frequency of visits to the eastern mountainous side of their home range. Changes in home-range size correlated positively with the number of adult females but not with the number of adult males. This finding does not support a prediction of the male-defended territory model proposed for some East African chimpanzee unit-groups.

Concepts: Human, Mathematics, Tropics, Vector space, Chimpanzee, Tanzania, Wet season, Home range


Camera traps can be used to address large-scale questions in community ecology by providing systematic data on an array of wide-ranging species. We deployed 225 camera traps across 1,125 km(2) in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, to evaluate spatial and temporal inter-species dynamics. The cameras have operated continuously since 2010 and had accumulated 99,241 camera-trap days and produced 1.2 million sets of pictures by 2013. Members of the general public classified the images via the citizen-science website Multiple users viewed each image and recorded the species, number of individuals, associated behaviours, and presence of young. Over 28,000 registered users contributed 10.8 million classifications. We applied a simple algorithm to aggregate these individual classifications into a final ‘consensus’ dataset, yielding a final classification for each image and a measure of agreement among individual answers. The consensus classifications and raw imagery provide an unparalleled opportunity to investigate multi-species dynamics in an intact ecosystem and a valuable resource for machine-learning and computer-vision research.

Concepts: Algorithm, IMAGE, Biological classification, Photography, Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Serengeti National Park


Abusive treatment of women during childbirth has been documented in low-resource countries and is a deterrent to facility utilization for delivery. Evidence for interventions to address women’s poor experience is scant. We assessed a participatory community and health system intervention to reduce the prevalence of disrespect and abuse during childbirth in Tanzania.

Concepts: Childbirth, Intervention, Abuse, Tanzania, Regions of Tanzania, Kilimanjaro Region, Tanga Region


Wildlife corridors can help maintain landscape connectivity but novel methods must be developed to assess regional structural connectivity quickly and cheaply so as to determine where expensive and time-consuming surveys of functional connectivity should occur. We use least-cost methods, the most accurate and up-to-date land conversion dataset for East Africa, and interview data on wildlife corridors, to develop a single, consistent methodology to systematically assess wildlife corridors at a national scale using Tanzania as a case study. Our research aimed to answer the following questions; (i) which corridors may still remain open (i.e. structurally connected) at a national scale, (ii) which have been potentially severed by anthropogenic land conversion (e.g., agriculture and settlements), (iii) where are other remaining potential wildlife corridors located, and (iv) which protected areas with lower forms of protection (e.g., Forest Reserves and Wildlife Management Areas) may act as stepping-stones linking more than one National Park and/or Game Reserve. We identify a total of 52 structural connections between protected areas that are potentially open to wildlife movement, and in so doing add 23 to those initially identified by other methods in Tanzanian Government reports. We find that the vast majority of corridors noted in earlier reports as “likely to be severed” have actually not been cut structurally (21 of 24). Nonetheless, nearly a sixth of all the wildlife corridors identified in Tanzania in 2009 have potentially been separated by land conversion, and a third now pass across lands likely to be converted to human use in the near future. Our study uncovers two reserves with lower forms of protection (Uvinza Forest Reserve in the west and Wami-Mbiki Wildlife Management Area in the east) that act as apparently crucial stepping-stones between National Parks and/or Game Reserves and therefore require far more serious conservation support. Methods used in this study are readily applicable to other nations lacking detailed data on wildlife movements and plagued by inaccurate land cover datasets. Our results are the first step in identifying wildlife corridors at a regional scale and provide a springboard for ground-based follow-up conservation.

Concepts: Conservation biology, Uganda, Hunting, Tanzania, Kenya, East Africa, Conservation, United States Fish and Wildlife Service


Quality of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) is important for ensuring malaria parasite clearance and protecting the efficacy of artemisinin-based therapies. The extent to which non quality-assured ACT (non-QAACT), or those not granted global regulatory approval, are available and used to treat malaria in endemic countries is poorly documented. This paper uses national and sub-national medicine outlet surveys conducted in eight study countries (Benin, Kinshasa and Kantanga [Democratic Republic of the Congo, DRC], Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia) between 2009 and 2015 to describe the non-QAACT market and to document trends in availability and distribution of non-QAACT in the public and private sector.

Concepts: Malaria, Africa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya, East Africa, African Union


Frequent and unregulated use of antimicrobials (AM) in livestock requires public health attention as a likely selection pressure for resistant bacteria. Studies among small-holders, who own a large percentage of the world’s livestock, are vital for understanding how practices involving AM use might influence resistance. We present a cultural-ecological mixed-methods analysis to explore sectors of veterinary care, loosely regulated AM use, and human exposure to AMs through meat and milk consumption across three rural to peri-urban Tanzanian ethnic groups (N = 415 households). Reported use of self-administered AMs varied by ethnic group (Maasai: 74%, Arusha: 21%, Chagga: 1%) as did consultation with professional veterinarians (Maasai: 36%, Arusha: 45%, Chagga: 96%) and observation of withdrawal of meat and milk from consumption during and following AM treatment (Maasai: 7%, Arusha: 72%, Chagga: 96%). The antibiotic oxytetracycline was by far the most common AM in this sample. Within ethnic groups, herd composition differences, particularly size of small-stock and cattle herds, were most strongly associated with differences in lay AM use. Among the Arusha, proxies for urbanization, including owning transportation and reliance on “zero-grazing” herds had the strongest positive associations with veterinarian consultation, while distance to urban centers was negatively associated. For Maasai, consultation was negatively associated with use of traditional healers or veterinary drug-shops. Observation of withdrawal was most strongly associated with owning technology among Maasai while Arusha observance displayed seasonal differences. This “One-Health” analysis suggests that livelihood and cultural niche factors, through their association with practices in smallholder populations, provide insight into the selection pressures that may contribute to the evolution and dissemination of antimicrobial resistance.

Concepts: Natural selection, Bacteria, Antibiotic resistance, Milk, Ethnic group, Veterinary medicine, Tanzania, Veterinarian