Working with the Grumeti Fund, and in line with Singita’s enhanced anti-poaching strategy, the company is pleased to introduce the Fund’s new Canine Unit: Tony, Popo, DJ and Radar. From Washington DC to Tanzania, the brave dogs have experienced quite the journey, and will continue to live as heroes in the African wild. A project born out of a guest’s love for the conservation work Singita continues to do, the Canine Unit will make a meaningful impact on the company’s already effective tactics to end rampant poaching in the Serengeti ecosystem.
The perilous state of African wildlife populations is widely considered to be one of the most critical conservation issues of our time. Addressing the loss of wildlife by poaching is a significant component of Singita’s role as a conservation company. As conservation becomes more critical in the Serengeti, Singita has used its “boots on the ground” foundation to introduce contemporary conservation methods and technology. Empowering the anti-poaching team with technology such as the new Domain Awareness System (DAS) has enabled the Singita Grumeti Fund to be even more effective in the ongoing protection of the area’s fauna and flora.
The Grumeti Fund’s Canine Unit will assist the new scout force to find highly valued and trafficked wildlife contraband like ivory, rhino horn, pangolin scales, ammunition and snares. The dogs can search a car, house or any specific area that Singita’s anti-poaching team believes may have any illegal items. Since arriving the dogs have been trained to track scents over long distances. Singita’s aim is to discourage poachers from poaching, as they will quickly become aware that they have a much higher chance of being arrested, now that the Grumeti Fund has dogs working in the protected area.
Having been rescued from dog shelters in the US, these previously abandoned canines are being given a second chance to protect wildlife species that are on the verge of extinction. The rescue dogs were trained in the US for several months with Working Dogs for Conservation, an organization dedicated to identifying and acquiring rescue dogs to be trained for conservation projects in Africa. The dogs have experienced a warm welcome into the Singita family, and will be cared for as such. All four dogs (two Chocolate Labrador mixes and two Belgian Malanois) will live and train under the care of six handlers, led by Mgoye Rugatiri. With experience in working with horses and dogs, his knowledge is an asset to the health and happiness of the canines.
Sleeping sickness, which is transmitted by tsetse flies, is the number one concern for the dogs’ health and will be managed very closely. The dog’s kennels have been carefully designed and constructed, with external runs for dogs when they are not training. They are fly-proof and equipped with medical facilities, allowing the handlers to monitor the dogs closely and test for early signs of disease.
Highly experienced trainers, including a top police dog trainer, have accompanied these dogs to Tanzania, where they are ensuring the dogs and handlers are working seamlessly together. Having settled in well, Tony, Popo, DJ and Radar are thriving in their new environment. Mgyoye and his team of handlers have begun to establish strong bonds with the dogs as if they are their own, and Singita as a whole is honored to provide a sense of home and safety to its new members.
Singita’s goal is not only to spread awareness, but also to raise funds. The considerable funds required to construct the state-of-the-art operations base for the dog unit were generously donated by a couple who had previously stayed at Singita and who was moved by the dedication and commitment of the anti-poaching scout force. Looking ahead, the company aims to introduce a guest program, which will aid in the monetary necessities to keep the canine and anti-poaching unit in motion. As a company dedicated to conservation, Singita is proud to have contributed to what was once a desolate area, nearly void of wildlife due to poaching, into the vibrant plains teeming with life that it is today. With the combination of a well-established scout force, new technology and now the Canine Unit, Singita continues to support its 100-year plan to preserve the African wilderness for future generations.
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Note to Editors:
Singita is a conservation company that has been preserving African wilderness for the past two decades. Through an exceptional safari experience with 12 award-winning lodges and camps across South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, Singita is able to partially fund the protection and preservation of pristine land and existing wildlife populations, not to mention help create economic independence within local communities surrounding the reserves.
Travellers choose to stay at Singita because of the expansive space and beauty of the reserves, limited guest and vehicle numbers, extraordinarily consistent game viewing and the exceptional care that is taken of each guest during their stay. Guests leave a Singita safari being transformed for a lifetime and having made a contribution to the legacy of Africa.
Contact: Singita Public Relations
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*Image credit: ALYCATS