If you had visited the Western Corridor of the Serengeti some 15 years ago, you would have found a dry and near-barren stretch of wilderness that had been devastated by uncontrolled hunting and rampant poaching. Thankfully, in the years since the Grumeti Fund was established in 2002 (now known as the Grumeti Fund) and granted the right to manage and conserve these 350,000 acres, animal populations have rebounded dramatically. Reading last month’s wildlife report from the region, it’s difficult to imagine the sorry state of these plains before the Grumeti Fund became responsible for their preservation. Here are some highlights from that report, courtesy of field guide Mark Nicholson:
Yet another exceptional month for lion viewings. Singita Serengeti had a total of 144 sightings and all of our prides are doing exceptionally well. None of the cubs have been lost or killed and we have had several new arrivals to our Nyasirori and Butamtam prides as well. There are three new cubs in each pride, with the youngsters being about three weeks old. We are still expecting more to arrive in the new year, as several females are heavily pregnant, and four active mating pairs were seen during the month.
The mother and her two cubs along the Mbogo drainage made up for a large percentage of our sightings throughout the month, with them being seen on 32 separate occasions. Two of our territorial males were also spotted during December, but due to the large size of their home ranges, they were only seen a few times.
The rains weren’t as plentiful as we expected last month and, as a result, the grass on the plains remains relatively short. The upside of this is that it makes for ideal cheetah-spotting conditions. Both the ‘mother and three’ (three cubs) and ‘mother and one’ (one cub) were seen regularly during the month, and our guests even witnessed several hunts as the mothers worked hard to feed their growing cubs.
Elephant sightings are now a daily occurrence across the concession. In December, we had a large breeding herd of approximately 300 that were seen near Singita Sasakwa Lodge. They stayed in the vicinity for a two week period, which made for some fantastic viewing.
The wild dogs were on the move throughout the month. They are not currently denning [where the pack picks a den site and remains there while new pups are born] so they have been roaming the concession looking for prey. They have been seen on 12 different occasions this month, with eight of these sightings resulting in a kill. This is an astonishing fact, given the rarity of the species and their endangered conservation status.
In line with Singita’s ethos as a conservation brand, the Grumeti Fund works with government, local communities and other stakeholders on various conservation projects in the Serengeti, ranging from the reintroduction of locally extinct animal species to managing wildfires and reducing the impact of invasive alien plant species. Discover more about the GF and its tireless conservation efforts in this recent blog post.