Serengeti De-snaring Project
The Serengeti ecosystem in Tanzania is a world-renowned natural landscape. The Great Migration of wildebeests, zebras, and Thomson’s gazelles that takes place there is the largest hoofed mammal migration on earth. With resilient populations of predators and iconic wildlife such as elephants, giraffes, and rhinos, the Serengeti National Park is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Poaching remains a major challenge to conservation in Tanzania. To help ensure the effective long-term protection of elephants, rhinos, and other wildlife, Grand Circle Foundation and Overseas Adventure Travel have partnered with the Franklin Zoological Society (FZS) to support the Serengeti park authorities in coordinating anti-poaching by monitoring activities and improving intelligence gathering capability in order to counter wildlife crime. The project employs teams of ex-poachers that move through the park, removing snares and freeing trapped animals.
Snaring often targets abundant species such as wildebeests, which are poached for their bushmeat. But snares are also deadly traps for many other animals that are not targeted, such as predators or elephants.
The Serengeti Desnaring program began in 2017 with one 8-man team. In order to expand this program and cover larger areas in the Serengeti, Grand Circle Foundation funded $43,950 to purchase and equip a new vehicle and support a second team in 2018. A third team was added in August 2019, increasing the number of snares collected each year. 6,500 snares were removed in 2017; 17,700 snares were removed in 2018, and 12,000 snares have been removed through September of this year.
1,483 animals have been found ensnared. Removing trapped animals from the snares is dangerous, and only 530 were saved.
Meat from poached animals is sometimes left out in the sun to dry, making detection from the air possible, but more often it is dried under cover, making detection difficult. The dried meat, known as kimoro, is destroyed when a poacher camp is found.
Confiscated snares are stored in a safe area until they can be destroyed. The snares are primarily made out from the wire beading of old car tires, therefore an unlimited supply is available. Recently snares made out of motorbike clutch and brake cables are being seen…again a big supply. 1,614 new snares were set in September 2019; far more than previously seen.
Overseas Adventure Travelers visit the Serengeti on the tour: Safari Serengeti: Tanzania Lodge and Tented Safari, and our hope is to preserve these iconic species for generations to come.