29 November 2017

Tanzania: Singita Grumeti Anti-Poaching Crusade Pays Off

THERE is an increase of arrests of poachers and collection of snares in a 350,000- acre concession wildlife reserve under Singita Grumeti which is adjacent to the Serengeti National Park, thanks to deployment of high technology and well trained game scouts.

Singita Grumeti Fund Executive Director, Stephen Cunliffe said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that there were a total of 5,214 arrests of illegal hunters and 1,276 snares were collected due to use of high technology and game scouts by Singita Grumeti Fund.

"The fund has a proactive intelligence unit that enables the apprehension of poachers as they enter the concession area rather than arresting them after animals have been killed," he said. +

During the year under review, the game scouts walked total distance of over 25,000 kilometres on their patrols. He said the fund has supported the fight against poaching because it threatens the country's wildlife attractions.

The Fund works with the government, local communities and other stakeholders on various conservation projects namely the re-introduction of locally extinct animal species to managing wildfires and reducing the impact of invasive alien plant species.

Since its inception, the scouts programme has achieved some impressive results with a 400 per cent increase in the elephant population despite the continentwide scourge of elephant poaching.

The Fund's scout programme employs men recruited from the surrounding communities and in an innovative approach uses rehabilitation methods to turn ex-poachers into wildlife protectors.

In making efficient and effective utilization of its resources, the fund set up 12 permanent scout patrol camps with observation posts manned 24 hours a day, a radio network, and a law enforcement database.

"People who live two kilometres from the boundary of the conservation area are the reason for this success story," he said adding, we want the community to see us as a positive partner. The Operations Group Commander, Mr Gotera Magesa Gamba, once a poacher said, "When I was a poacher I had a very hard life and you would have been afraid to even look at me."

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