Conservation Up Close: An Invitation to Participate in a Critical Elephant Collaring Project
For those who share in our deep love of Africa and our passion for protecting the continent’s landscapes and wildlife, being given the chance to immerse oneself in an impactful conservation project is the opportunity of a lifetime.
Safaris with a Purpose is a programme of special projects developed with a specific conservation goal in mind that offer guests immersive, hands-on experience with the Grumeti Fund’s environmental teams. One of this year's key projects is Elephant Collaring; fitting elephants with GPS-enabled satellite collars in order to monitor habitual crop raiders and limit human-wildlife conflict in the region. Guests are intimately involved in the implementation of these programmes and leave knowing that they’ve made a substantial contribution to safeguarding the wildlife living in the reserve.
The Grumeti Fund is responsible for caring for these 350,000 acres of protected land in the western Serengeti with a team that carries out all aspects of conservation here from anti-poaching, habitat management, wildlife reintroduction and human-wildlife conflict mitigation to rural enterprise development, women's empowerment and environmental education. They do so with great commitment, and in 15 years have transformed the area, which was once in a state of severe environmental crisis, into a flourishing wildlife habitat.
The Elephant Collaring Project is one of these important conservation initiatives. With an increase in both wildlife and human populations along the unfenced boundary of the concession comes a heightened conflict between the animals and the people living in neighbouring villages. The livelihoods of these communities are threatened by the presence and behaviours of wild animals who often trample or eat their crops, and are injured or killed by the villagers in retaliation. Finding a mutually beneficial solution to this challenge is critical.
The Fund is dedicated to creating proactive programmes that prevent the conflict from occurring in the first place and the most effective way to achieve this is by monitoring elephants who wander out of the reserve and into community areas. When one such event takes place, the Fund alerts the villagers about the proximity of the elephant or the herd and deploys the human-wildlife conflict mitigation unit to assist in moving the elephants back into the protected area.
The intention is for the communities living on the outskirts of Singita Grumeti to begin to eliminate the threat that these majestic, intelligent and social animals have on people’s crops, and, more importantly, to avoid the unnecessary persecution of this already highly threatened species. In addition, it is critical for the local communities to happily coexist with – and indeed thrive because of – the existence of the wildlife reserve, especially in a country like Tanzania where an impressive 25% of the land is under some form of protection.
The first phase of the Elephant Collaring Project took place in February this year and involved fitting six bulls and six cows with collars. This specialist conservation safari was the first of its kind in Grumeti and was led by Executive Director of the Grumeti Fund, Stephen Cunliffe. Its success prompted the rollout of phase two, which will take place in September 2018 and see 18 more elephants being fitted with collars. Alongside Stephen Cunliffe and a team of local conservationists, scientists, vets and pilots, guests will play a critical role in helping to locate the elephants, monitoring them once they have been darted and are being collared, and following up on the elephants post-collaring.
Other activities on the itinerary for this safari include exposure to the Fund’s high tech anti-poaching headquarters, training with the new canine unit, learning more about the Environmental Education Center and other community outreach projects undertaken at Grumeti. Guests will also experience the best of a Serengeti safari, staying at Singita's spectacular lodges and camps which offer luxurious accommodation and sweeping views of endless grassy plains. Daily game drives, wilderness walks and exceptional food and wine round off this unforgettable African experience.
To find out more about the package available and how to book your place on the trip please take a look at the Safari with a Purpose online brochure:
The Elephant Collaring Project is only one of many conservation initiatives run by the Grumeti Fund in Tanzania. The Fund depends on the generosity of donors to help them carry out their biodiversity, sustainability and community partnership programmes. By making a donation, you will help to enhance the ongoing protection of this precious part of the Serengeti ecosystem and provide crucial support to the development aspirations of neighboring communities. Make a donation »