MISSION POSSIBLE SERENGETI
The Coronavirus / Covid outbreak has not only hurt first world economies. In Africa tourism is the force which protects wildlife. Professional safari guide Alex Walker sent us this urgent message this Tuesday morning… any support would be greatly appreciated!
For nearly a century Africa has warmly welcomed safari enthusiasts, travelers, artists, and photographers to celebrate her beauty, drink in her majestic creatures, smile with her people, and marvel at her otherworldly sunsets. Today I am writing to you because Mama Africa finds herself in the midst of an unprecedented and regrettably, mounting, crisis. Never before has the predicament been so dire and requiring such urgent attention.
COVID-19 has dealt African wildlife a huge punch. The virus and the subsequent global lockdown have meant the immediate cessation of any tourism activity, loss of thousands of jobs in Africa, and increased poaching. The good news in all this is that we have identified a solution to help our staff and the wonderful wildlife on which we rely for our tourism, and we invite you to help become part of a solution to this crisis for wildlife.
To bring this reality into sharp relief; our Tanzanian camps have been empty since late February. With no money to provide for their families, our staff will possibly turn to the bush to sustain their brood. I regret to share that reports already coming in suggest that the level of snaring has spiked in the past week. This increase will almost certainly continue until things return to some form of normality. Thus, the animals are more vulnerable than ever before to poaching. The immediate vacuum of game viewing vehicles traversing these wild areas, coupled with reduced operations budgets for anti-poaching units as a result of a lack of tourism generated fees to the park authorities, will create a perfect storm for the bushmeat trade.
In Africa social responsibility falls to those in work, they support large extended families. Those not able to survive from subsistence farming, will probably turn to traditional roles as hunter-gatherers and other means to find a means of feeding their families. It is vital to discern the difference between the abhorrent, well-publicised commercial elephant and rhino poacher from this subsistence level meat poacher, who uses a wire snare to catch his prey. With that point established it is important to note that these snares don’t discriminate. What was meant for a small antelope may snare a leopard, a lion and even an elephant.
Our proposed solution for which we need help then, is as follows:
Across much of Tanzania, a considerable portion of camp staff that are employed are locally sourced from the rural communities in the areas where we operate, primarily for their intimate bush skills, their tremendous hard work and their ease at living in these remote environments. In discussions with Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) and the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) – a major partner of TANAPA’s working in Tanzania, we have agreed to build on a pilot and highly successful Serengeti National Park de-snaring programme by deploying these wonderful folks, under TANAPA management, to further supplement the de-snaring teams already in place and thereby provide a critical presence while undertaking anti-poaching and de-snaring work.
More than anything it is about deploying boots and eyes to the ground, where there would normally be multiple game viewing vehicles going about their business within a park. A car or two on the ground, or a foot patrol of eight is a massive deterrent, a presence is often enough sometimes to put off even the most ardent poacher. Our guides and spotters, our chefs and waiters know the areas intimately, their knowledge can help identify high risk areas for the rangers and anti-poaching teams to patrol.
It does not come easily to reach out to anybody and ask for help but in these uncharted waters we have no other choice. We don’t want these people, their families, or the animals to suffer.
CAN YOU HELP US WITH THIS MISSION?
Working with the FZS and their already established Serengeti De-Snaring Programme we wish to drive funding for this improved law enforcement work at this critical time through their existing platform. It’s important to point out that this de-snaring programme has removed and destroyed more than 40,000 snares since its inception in 2017. The Frankfurt Zoological Society US is a 501 (c) (3) registered organisation, fully registered, licensed and capable of issuing donation certificates in the USA, with a secure payment gateway (PayPal) that accepts all major credit and debit cards.
Please make sure you add ‘MISSION POSSIBLE SERENGETI #serengetishallnotdie’ under “write a note”. This way we can best track the donations and accelerate the funds deployment to the field teams. 100% of donations will reach the teams in the field.
Currently each team costs on average $2400 per month to keep in the field (operational costs only):
Monthly salaries for one 8-man team = $1350
Monthly rations & allowances = $430
Monthly vehicle costs (fuel, repairs & maintenance) = $620
Total = $2400
We thank you sincerely for your consideration and continued support.