FRANKFURT ZOO TO BOOST SECURITY IN SERENGETI
Information was received from a regular conservation source in Arusha that the Frankfurt Zoological Society, one of Tanzania National Park’s staunchest supporters over the past decades, has set aside fresh funding to boost in particular anti poaching capabilities in the Serengeti National Park.
It was this park which over half a century ago caught the eye of Prof. Bernhard Grzimek who went on to become its global ‘brand ambassador’ even though such ‘titles’ were unheard of back then.
In his books and documentaries he immortalized the Serengeti under the title ‘Serengeti Shall Not Die’, which earned him the friendship of Tanzania’s founder president and father of the nation Mwalimu Julius Nyerere at the time and established a cooperation between the FZS and Tanzania, lasting until today. It also made the Serengeti one of the best known ecosystems and national parks around the world and has ever since been at the heart of promoting tourism to the country.
Tens of millions of US Dollars have since the late 1950’s been raised by and through FZS’ efforts and gone into material support for the park, the latest being the funding for a control room from where anti poaching efforts will in the future be coordinated. According to the report FZS was honoured last week by Germany’s development bank KfW, which awarded the Frankfurt Zoological Society 50.000 Euros for their outstanding conservation work, and FZS in turn dedicated these funds to assist TANAPA in setting up a security centre at the park headquarters near Seronera. The new control room will coordinate anti poaching operations on the ground and from the air, and the source indicated that TANAPA, like their colleagues in Kenya, are now also considering the use of unmanned airborne devices, aka drones, to keep an eye in the sky at all times and assist in swift reactions when poachers are detected.
In the past has FZS regularly donated communication equipment and vehicles dedicated to facilitate the movement of rangers across the park, has helped in constructing park gates, administrative buildings, quarters for staff, roads and bridges, has helped to train staff and a range of other measures, aimed to keep the management of the Serengeti National Park up to date with technology and management methods, beyond the financial assistance through grants by the Tanzanian government, and the income from park entrance fees. The Frankfurt Zoological Society has however also not minced words when coming to the defense of the park, speaking out against plans to construct a highway across the migration routes of the wildebeest and zebras, as a result of which the German government has offered to carry out a detailed study for a highway around the Southern edges of the park rather than have a major road run right through the park as hapless officials had tried to do before being stopped by the global conservation fraternity. A case for a permanent injunction against such plans is currently pending against the Tanzanian government before the East Africa Court of Justice. Regardless of such opposition though has the FZS continued to support park operations and met the many needs regular funding was not able to accomplish. Well done FZS, and let us not forget, Serengeti Shall Not Die.