Today, visitors to the western corridor of the Serengeti, where Singita is the custodian of a 350,000-acre concession, are surrounded by lush grasslands and healthy herds of migrating wildlife. Thirteen years ago, however, this area was near-barren, as uncontrolled hunting and rampant poaching had decimated local wildlife populations. Thanks to the intervention of American philanthropist, Paul Tudor Jones, the Grumeti Fund was established in response to this environmental crisis, turning the area into the ultimate conservation success story and the location of the best game viewing on earth.
Working in partnership with Singita, the Fund’s mission is to contribute to the conservation of the Serengeti ecosystem, its natural landscape, and its wildlife. Active conservation management, collaboration with local communities, technological innovations and the deployment of hands-on conservation and law enforcement professionals allows the Fund to achieve tangible change and sustainable results.
In addition to rejuvenating and preserving the landscape, the Grumeti Fund works with government, local communities and other stakeholders on various conservation projects, ranging from the re-introduction of locally extinct animal species to managing wildfires and reducing the impact of invasive alien plant species. The success of this work is borne out by the incredible growth in numbers of resident large mammals: to illustrate, the elephant population has quadrupled, giraffe and topi have almost tripled and there are ten times more buffalo than there were just 11 years ago.
Anti-poaching and law enforcement
The Grumeti Fund combines cutting-edge technology with boots on the ground to combat the threat of commercial bush-meat poaching and elephant poaching for ivory. A network of local informants helps to provide intelligence to the law enforcement department, while a Special Operations Unit is tasked with confronting the most serious security threats to the Singita Grumeti concession. Twelve permanent scout patrol camps and a network of high-lying observation posts which are manned 24/7, combined with a state-of-the-art digital radio network and accompanying law enforcement database, ensure Grumeti’s limited resources are deployed efficiently and effectively.
The Grumeti Fund’s Community Outreach Program works with more than 20 villages in close proximity to the concession. Together we enhance access to quality education, teach environmental awareness, promote responsible natural resource management, and support the establishment of small enterprises. Our presence in the communities builds relationships and strengthens partnerships, while addressing shared concerns. Singita’s sustainable tourism model also contributes by creating economic opportunities for these communities in an attempt to reduce their reliance on unsustainable hunting of indigenous wildlife; our long-term solution to this challenge.
Research & monitoring
In order to better understand local ecological systems, and to measure the effectiveness of our community and conservation work, the Fund invests significantly in research and monitoring programs with the aim of maintaining ongoing records of changes in key variables. This important information will aid managers to ensure they make informed decisions, thereby achieving the most desirable conservation outcomes. Aside from routine research surveys and the ongoing compilation of monitoring data, three of the key focus areas for the ecological monitoring team are: human-wildlife conflict, developing research collaborations with leading Tanzanian universities, and participation in wildlife translocation projects.
Singita Serengeti House, Tanzania
The work of the Grumeti Fund could never be accomplished alone. Luckily, we are supported by intrepid partners who share our vision. The Fund works to maintain, build and strengthen close relationships with all relevant government, conservation and local community stakeholders that operate within the Serengeti ecosystem, thereby enabling us to effectively carry out our work.
Working closely alongside other departments of the Grumeti Fund, the role of the Special Projects division is to introduce new technologies and innovative methods of conservation, anti-poaching and research and monitoring, which allow the Fund to produce more effective and efficient results. Examples include the establishment of a canine unit with detection and tracker dogs, Domain Awareness System, reconnaissance drones and other aerial support.
Singita Sasakwa Lodge, Tanzania
The Grumeti Fund employs 180 dedicated staff to protect, manage and monitor Grumeti’s concessions and wildlife. Thanks to their passion and commitment, the previously neglected Serengeti wilderness teem with wildlife once more. In fact, the great herds are once again lingering in this scenically spectacular region during the annual migration, a direct result of our team effectively protecting and re-stabilizing this fragile ecosystem.
The Grumeti Fund depends on the generosity of donors to help it carry out its conservation and community programs, and every cent of each donation is used to assist with the Fund’s operational costs. Your contribution will help enhance the ongoing protection of this crucial part of the Serengeti ecosystem and provide essential support to the development aspirations of neighboring communities. Please visit their website to find out more.