Singita Grumeti - A Conservation Success Story
The Serengeti-Mara ecosystem in Tanzania supports the largest migration of mammals on earth. This year, the herds descended on Singita Grumeti, which makes up 350,000 acres of this vast grassland habitat, on the afternoon of May 21st.
The location of the Singita Grumeti reserve has played a crucial role in the survival of this vast ecosystem and the preservation of the ancient migratory route, with the establishment of the Singita Grumeti Fund (SGF) in 2003. The SGF and its anti-poaching scout force has worked year round to protect the migrating and resident wildlife across the reserve.
Rhino and elephant are often targets of poachers, but the hunting of wildebeest for sustenance is also a huge challenge for the anti-poaching teams. Local communities have historically relied on such "bush meat" as a source of protein, which makes the SGF's community outreach programs that prioritize wildlife protection, environmental sustainability and small enterprise development particularly important. By up-skilling people from the villages bordering the reserve and emphasizing the importance of conservation, less pressure is placed on the reserve's wildlife, further contributing to the biodiversity of the region.
Anti-poaching teams work alongside government scouts day and night to protect the wildlife in the reserve. Full moon is a particularly challenging time as poachers tend to take advantage of the good nighttime visibility, hunting wildebeest with snares and dogs.
Between May 21st and June 21st 2017, the anti-poaching unit successfully stopped 41 illegal incursions; 17 of which were poaching groups targeting migrating wildebeest. During this time, the scouts removed 70 snares and found 30 wildebeest caught in snares, as well as two lions and two giraffes. When they are fortunate enough to find an animal in a snare that can be saved, they work with the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute to free and treat the injured wildlife.
Through a combination of foot patrols, permanent observation posts and rapid reaction units, the Singita Grumeti Fund has achieved an enormous reduction in the level of illegal hunting on its concessions. As a result the numbers of resident large mammals have increased exponentially: 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, which has led to an abundance of wildlife at Singita Grumeti year-round.
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