Serengeti - Tanzania Grumeti - Tanzania

The Serengeti plains teem with wildlife, including vast herds of plains game, the Big Five and the spectacle of the annual wildebeest migration. It is Singita’s task, through the Singita Grumeti Fund, to ensure that this pristine environment under its care is closely protected and that the Serengeti’s natural cycles continue as they have for millennia.

Making a very low impact on the environment is key. To this end, there are only three lodges, one private house and one camp in the entire 350 000 acres of wilderness that make up Singita Grumeti, thus providing maximum viewing quality for guests and a minimum footprint on the land.

Another aspect of custodianship is the fight against poaching. Before 2002, illegal hunting was an everyday occurrence in this area, resulting in a rapidly diminishing game population. Since then, the Grumeti Fund has implemented, in close collaboration with the Tanzanian Wildlife Division, management practices which have had unprecedented success. Integral to the programme is a large team of game scouts who perform anti-poaching duties.

A further aspect of custodianship has been the reintroduction of native species. In 1960, Serengeti National Park had 800 black rhinos. By 1980, due to severe poaching, that number had been reduced to 30. One challenging project that Singita has undertaken, in collaboration with the Tanzanian government, is the reintroduction of the East African sub-species of black rhinoceros to the Serengeti.

Anti-poaching unit

Prior to 2002, illegal hunting was unfortunately an everyday occurrence in this area, placing the annual wildebeest migration under severe pressure and rapidly diminishing resident game populations. The poaching undermined the tourist potential of the reserves and, in doing so, the ability of neighbouring communities to garner sustainable benefits from these natural resources.

Since then, Singita Grumeti has implemented, in close collaboration with the Tanzanian Wildlife Division, wildlife management policies and practices which have had unprecedented success in restoring the biodiversity and ecological balance in the area. Integral to this programme is the team of 120 game scouts, most of them ex-poachers, who form the Anti-Poaching Unit.

Working together with the Wildlife Division, the Anti-Poaching Unit has virtually eradicated illegal hunting within the concession. The game scouts in the unit are also responsible for documenting wildlife presence and movement, as well as any other data of biological importance.

On-going data collection, coordinated and analysed by the organisation’s Research Biologist, has revealed a rapid and steady increase in resident game as a direct result of increased security and improved habitats.

Wildlife Monitoring and Research Programme

All of the data that is collected by the Anti-Poaching Unit is carefully collated and analysed by a dedicated team, helping to gain an understanding on a variety of ecological factors. These efforts are critical in determining conservation strategies for wildlife management.

The team conducts as annual aerial wildlife census which provides valuable insights into the impact the responsible habitat management programme has had on the game populations of Singita Grumeti.

Reintroduction of Native Species

In the 1960s the Serengeti National Park had in excess of 800 Black Rhino.  By 1980, due to severe poaching, that number had been reduced to less than 30.  Since then the Tanzanian government has taken steps to improve security within the Serengeti National Park, with a resultant increase in their numbers.

Singita Grumeti is fully supportive of their efforts and the improved security situation allowed for the re-introduction of more rhino. One challenging project being undertaken in collaboration with the Tanzanian government is the re-introduction of the East African sub-species of black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli) to the Western Corridor of the Serengeti Ecosystem.

The program involves the introduction of captive-bred rhino.  The rhino was re-introduced to Singita Grumeti, into a sanctuary as a part of the "Save the Rhino" repatriation programme, in the hope of stimulating population growth and increasing genetic viability and diversity of the existing population within the ecosystem.

 

Singita Grumeti Environmental Education Centre

In August of 2009 the first group of students entered Singita Grumeti’s Environmental Education Centre (EEC), a facility established to develop, among young people from local communities, an awareness of the importance of preserving the bio-diversity of their communal lands and of their neighboring reserves.

Allied to this was the imperative to share with them effective and practical ways to adopt a lifestyle that would result in a harmonious environmental balance.

Invasive Alien Plant Program

The threat of invasive alien plants to ecosystems and more specifically to the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem is one which threatens the biological diversity of the region concerned, as well as the livelihoods of communities, as crops and livestock grazing areas become increasingly more affected by this issue.

Singita Grumeti initiated a control program in 2009 to combat the further spread of invasive alien plants within the concession after it was noted that 17,050 acres of protected area was infected.

To date 7000 acres of infected area have been treated and cleared. The goal of this initiative is to create increased awareness with government and various other stakeholders so that plans may be put in place to combat this threat at a national level.

Singita Grumeti has conducted positive workshops with the various parties concerned and we are hopeful that steps will be implemented to further address this ever increasing problem.

Fire Management

Sensitive area management is crucial to ensure that woody plants thrive, which is vital for black rhino habitat, thus areas within Singita Grumeti are manged and burned under carefully controlled conditions.

A fire management programme has been incorporated into management plans and are implemented according to field research and herbivores grazing in the area.

Road and Camp Construction

Roads and the construction of camps can have a significant impact on the environment and that is why the current road network is being assessed and accommodation at the anti-poaching camps is being upgraded.  Roads that were aligned poorly in the past are being closed and re-habilitated and any new roads are being responsibly aligned, using the latest technology to take into account watersheds to align roads and reduce their environmental impact.

Furthermore the construction of new anti-poaching unit camps are adopting more environmentally-friendly measures with all camps being installed with a 40,000 litre storage tank to harvest rainwater and high quality solar systems to power essential equipment.