For the Grumeti Fund‘s Special Operations Group, an elite task force within the anti-poaching unit responsible for protecting Singita’s 350,000-acre concession in the Serengeti, the day starts long before sunrise. It is a job which requires the utmost dedication of the scouts who are highly trained in the tracking and apprehension of poachers, many of whom pose a lethal threat not just to the animals, but to the scouts themselves.
The group comprises 16 high-performing members of the law enforcement team and supports over 100 other anti-poaching game scouts, all of whom come from the communities bordering the concession. Their local knowledge and, for many, being ex-poachers themselves, makes them extremely efficient at handling the most serious security threats to the concession. When not on deployment, dealing with incidents identified by the unit’s informant network or the sophisticated Domain Awareness System, the Special Operations Group is undergoing additional weapons, strategy and fitness training or patrolling vulnerable areas for four to five hours at a time.
The headquarters of the Grumeti Fund’s law enforcement and anti-poaching squad includes a well-equipped gym, accommodation for the Special Operations Group, a briefing room, storage facility for their gear, and the Operations Room, from which the DAS is run. The latest addition to the compound is a brand new canine unit, which currently has four highly-trained dogs: two chocolate Labrador mixes and two Belgian Malinois, all of whom are rescue dogs from the United States. They, along with their handlers at the Grumeti Fund, have been expertly trained by our partner, Working Dogs for Conservation, to track down contraband like ivory, rhino horn, pangolin scales, ammunition, bush meat and snares. It is a game-changing addition to an already adept team of hard working game scouts.
Monitoring and protecting 350,000 acres of land is no mean feat for the Grumeti Fund‘s (GF) anti-poaching unit. One of the ways in which this is achieved is by manning 24 permanent scout patrol camps and high-lying observation posts across the property to maximise the effectiveness of the law enforcement unit. Find out more here: Keeping a Watchful Eye on the Serengeti »