The current escalated levels of desire for high-value wildlife products such as rhino horn, elephant ivory, lion bone and pangolin scales has driven the illegal hunting of these and other species to levels not seen in decades.
At the same time, the demand for protein to feed Africa’s burgeoning human population is driving an ever-growing market for illegally-harvested bushmeat. Together, these industries threaten the very existence of the continent’s unique protected areas and remaining wildlife.
Maintaining the integrity of our reserves and the fragile ecosystems that exist within them is, therefore, a primary concern for the conservation teams, with anti-poaching operations a critical part of our effort to stem the tide of this illicit trade.
In this context, nothing can substitute a traditional well-trained, well-motivated and well-resourced team of anti-poaching scouts. However, through innovative deployment of high-tech modern technology, we can significantly increase their effectiveness.
In Tanzania, the Grumeti Fund a few types of highly innovative technologies in order to assist the anti-poaching teams to successfully protect the land under their watch:
- Drones Reconnaissance drones are used for surveillance purposes and are capable of operating 24/7 across the protected area.
- Night Vision Elite scouts are equipped with cutting-edge night vision technology, enabling them to work undetected throughout the night.
- Domain Awareness System The Domain Awareness System is a high-tech tool that allows us to collect and collate data across various departments.
- TrailGuard TrailGuard is a new technology being implemented at Grumeti involving a series of covert cameras synced with the DAS.
Singita Lowveld Trust
In South Africa, the Singita Lowveld Trust manages a wide range of conservation projects in Singita Sabi Sand and Singita Kruger National Park – from anti-poaching initiatives to wildlife research & land management, sustainability efforts and community developments projects such as early childhood development, digital learning and a world-class culinary school.
A highly skilled team of tracking dogs and handlers enhance anti-poaching efforts in the Sabi Sand Reserve, while the Trust’s partnership with the global conservation NGO Panthera has shown that the area is home to the largest density of leopards of any protected area surveyed in South Africa. The Panthera’s Furs for Life project – of which Singita is a partner – has reduced the demand for leopard skins with 50%, and Singita is also a strategic founding partner of the Lionscape Coalition, supporting the Lion Recovery Fund’s goal to double wild lion numbers by 2050.