What is the Grumeti Fund?
The Grumeti Fund is a non-profit organisation based in Tanzania whose mission is to support the conservation of the iconic and biodiversity-rich Serengeti ecosystem. Their work in the western corridor of the Serengeti aspires to successfully protect the landscape and enhance the wellbeing of both people and wildlife within the Grumeti Concessions in collaboration with key government and community stakeholders. These endeavours entail supporting initiatives for the re-establishment of black rhino in Ikorongo Game Reserve and adjacent areas.
© Grumeti Fund
Grumeti Fund Black Rhino Program
The race to save this charismatic species is a response to a sad history of loss and persecution of a species where the poaching crisis of the 1970s and 1980s decimated black rhino in its range. During that period Tanzania was not spared, losing over ninety percent of its black rhino population. The aftermath of the crisis prompted IUCN to classify the eastern black rhino (Diceros bicornis michaelli) on its Red List as 'critically endangered'.
Encouragingly, there is a ray of hope again due to improved security in most protected areas and robust stakeholder collaboration and thus greater prospects for successful conservation including that of important species like the black rhino. Although the threat remains, there is a notable desire to re-establish the black rhino in its former range - which includes our focal area. This collective effort is a deliberate attempt to avert the potential extinction of a species that is very important to nature and wildlife-based tourism.
Non-governmental players like the Grumeti Fund are a critical part of this endeavour. The Grumeti Fund's first attempt in rhino conservation dates back to 2007 with the reintroduction of two black rhinos from Port Lympne Park in the UK. Their most recent and very ambitious drive to date was the translocation of nine black rhino from Thaba Tholo (South Africa) to Ikorongo in late 2019. The latter is again roaming free in the wild after many decades of their human-induced absence.
@ Singita Grumeti Fund | Ross Couper
Our contribution to the Grumeti Fund
The support from the VGP Foundation will directly foot part of the costs for repatriating another batch of up to 8 eastern black rhino to Ikorongo Grumeti Game Reserve during the 2021-2022 period. The rhino will come from Aspinall Foundation (UK) and Thaba Tholo Game Ranch. The Grumeti Fund continues to engage donors, other interested parties and individuals to help cover the current deficit in unfunded costs. Total project costs (i.e. so-far-funded and unfunded) is about $1.1 million for all the expenses related to rhino acquisition, capture, pre-and-post capture holding, holding and release, veterinary expenses as well as transportation and ground logistics.
Why do we support the Black Rhino Program?
Even though the VGP Foundation usually only supports projects situated in Europe (with the exception of the iconical protection of the snow leopard in central Asia), we decided to support the reintroduction of black rhinos into the wild because of the urgent necessity to act to save and subsequently protect the species with only around 5,500 animals left in the wild.
And why the Grumeti Fund?
In 2019, the Grumeti Fund managed to carry out the largest translocation of rhino into Tanzania, leading to the increase of the national population by almost 10%. Their anti-poaching unit is constantly monitoring the rhinos to ensure their wellbeing and safety against poachers. The Grumeti Fund also combines nature conservation measures with a complex educational program for communities aiming to empower local people and future generations to get involved in the protection of the Serengeti eco-system.