A team of 100 anti-poaching game scouts is responsible for defending Singita Grumeti’s 350,000 acres of wilderness from the daily threat of illegal resource extraction and poaching. Without these dedicated law enforcement professionals, the region would return to the ecologically degraded state in which it was found before the establishment of the Grumeti Fund in 2003. With World Ranger Day approaching on the 31st of July, we celebrate these brave scouts and appeal for your support in order to ensure their continued success.
The Serengeti is a vast wilderness; a large and fragile ecosystem that suffered the ravages of uncontrolled hunting and rampant poaching for many years. The establishment of much-needed conservation initiatives and non-profit organisations like the Grumeti Fund (GF) has had an enormous impact on the biodiversity of the region. Where 20 years ago the grasslands were devoid of much wildlife because of rampant hunting and poaching, the western corridor of these great plains is now home to a flourishing landscape and robust populations of predators and game.
Although thriving, these ecosystems do remain at risk. Poaching, illegal resource extraction (such as charcoal) and the trespassing of large herds of livestock are an ongoing reality as surrounding communities continue to utilize these options in order to support their families. The GF tackles this through the community outreach program UPLIFT – Unlocking Prosperous Livelihoods for Tomorrow – which focuses on environmental awareness, education and skills development and support for small businesses in villages bordering the concessions. In addition to this the operation of the Anti-Poaching and Law Enforcement Department is critical. The highly trained rangers patrol the concession around the clock and man 12 permanent scout patrol camps and high-lying observation posts across the property. In addition, an elite Special Operations Group comprising 16 of the highest performing scouts is tasked with confronting the most serious security threats, while four specialised dogs and their handlers make up the canine unit responsible for detecting and tracking wildlife contraband.
The various arms of the GF law enforcement team are based out of a Joint Operations Centre which serves as the command post from which administration, logistics, communications and operations are coordinated. It also houses kennels, runs and a medical facility for the dogs, a well-equipped gym, accommodation for the Special Operations Group, a briefing room, equipment storage, and the central Operations Room.
This strategy of putting boots on the ground at all times, combined with the use of innovative technology like camera traps, drones, and a joint intelligence unit ensure the GF’s limited resources are deployed effectively. It is a 24/7/365 operation that requires considerable funding in order to function; it costs the GF $1,000,000 annually to support the Anti-Poaching and Law Enforcement Department. Uniforms cost $25,000 alone, while the canine unit has an annual running cost of $45,000. The support of our partners and donors is essential if the Grumeti plains are to remain the world-renowned wildlife sanctuary they are today.
MAKE A CONTRIBUTION
Your donation will help to enhance the ongoing protection of this crucial part of the Serengeti ecosystem by allowing the Grumeti Fund to invest in equipment, technology and training that makes our anti-poaching team ever more effective. Details on how to donate by credit card, wire transfer or check can be found here.