The Grumeti Fund – Who We Are
The Grumeti Fund has largely remained out of the public eye since its inception in 2003. BUT we are ready to tell our story, to get you involved and to show the world what we have done, where we have struggled and what we would like to achieve.
We are a conservation and community development non-profit based in the Serengeti, Tanzania. We are tasked with protecting a 350,000 acre concession bordering the Serengeti National Park, crucial to the great wildebeest migration. We collaborate with the Tanzania Wildlife Division and many other organizations, but for the most part we operate independently (i.e. management, budget + staff).
We started our endeavor with a concession that had a very threatened and fragile mammalian population. Unregulated hunting had decimated local wildlife populations (think lion, buffalo, eland, giraffe, warthog, leopard, elephant). The effort to save these animals began by focusing on a significant reduction of poaching. In most scenarios this would mean to arrest all poachers caught hunting illegally. In our case however, we offered them a second chance. Many of them put hunting behind them and became game scouts (i.e. the law enforcement body behind wildlife protection and anti-poaching). This program worked exceptionally well. They were happy to be part of a positive cause and earning a regular salary and they had invaluable local knowledge (i.e. the lay of the land, the local history, the ways of illegal hunters and of the local wildlife).
At nearly the same time our Community Outreach Program began. The surrounding villages were (and still are) considerably impoverished by Western standards. Thus the beginning of small and medium enterprise development, educational scholarships, meeting of basics needs and employment began.
Now there are 180 people working for the Fund. They work extremely hard and are dedicated to making a difference in the landscape they protect. Game scouts often work through the night, on foot patrols or setting up ambushes. Their job is tireless and dangerous – especially now as ivory poaching and the weaponry associated with it has become more and more lethal (e.g. gangs of poachers with automatic weapons).
In the years that the Fund has been operating there have been some amazing accomplishments. Overall there has been a four- fold increase in wildlife on the concession since 2003. There have been over 120 poachers converted to game scouts. More than 1,500 students who have come to our Environmental Education Center and an average of $260,000 per year that is paid directly to a local agricultural co-op founded by the Fund. The Fund and our partner company Singita also employ 60% of the staff from the local area.
To stay relevant in conservation you must be adaptive. We are working in a time when conservation is changing. It is becoming more dangerous, more expensive and more critical. Through an increase in habitat destruction, overexploitation and exotic and invasive species there are increasingly challenging obstacles to overcome in order to ensure that we are an impactful organization. Our aim is not only to protect the 350,000 acres on our doorstep but also to engage with the general public and partner with other organizations to ensure we are effectively protecting the biodiversity of Africa, for current and future generations of Tanzanians and the general public.
Please come with us on this journey and hear more about what we have accomplished and what we intend to accomplish in the months and years to come.