The history of Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) dates back to 1963 when it was first established as the “Serengeti Wildlife Research Institute” (SWRI) with role of providing scientific information related to wildlife management for the Serengeti National Park. Later, the Institute was established by Act of Parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania No. 4 of 1980, with the mandate to conduct, coordinate and oversee wildlife research in the United Republic of Tanzania. The name SWRI was changed to TAWIRI in 1999, by the Act of Parliament No.10 (CAP 260 RE 2002), to give its broader meaning and mandate on wildlife research throughout the country. The overall purpose of TAWIRI is to collate and disseminate timely and quality scientific information to guide the management and utilization of wildlife resources in the country. Therefore, the Institute has the mandatory role of advising the Government, Management Authorities and the general public on best ways of conserving the wildlife resources based on research findings. Through research, the Institute also has the mandate to promote and facilitate training of Tanzanians in wildlife science. In accordance with its mandate, the core functions of TAWIRI include coordination and management of all wildlife research in the country.
The headquarter of the Institute is located at Njiro, Arusha and comprises of five Research Centers in various locations namely; (i) Western Wildlife Research Centre (WWRC) in Kigoma Region, (ii) Kingupira Wildlife Research Centre (KWRC) in Selous Game Reserve (iii) Njiro Wildlife Research Centre (NWRC) in Njiro, in the city of Arusha, (iv) Serengeti Wildlife Research Centre (SWRC) in Serengeti National Park and (v) Southern highlands Wildlife Research Centre – SHWRC in Iringa Municipality. In addition to these centers, the Institute has five research stations namely, Endala (Manyara National Park), Lower Kihansi (Kilombero District), Magugu (Babati District), West Kilimanjaro (Hai District) and Tabora (Tabora Municipality).