GRUMETI RESERVES UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT AGAIN
Investigations have been launched against some Grumeti Reserves wardens over the alleged beating of a poaching suspect, who later died in hospital. The three staff are now in custody alongside a game officer from a nearby outpost, who was also arrested to help with investigations.
The alleged poacher was arrested a few days ago and taken to a police station, but after complaining of ill health transported to a local medical facility where he later died.
Grumeti Reserves is owned by the US based Paul Tudor Jones who has invested substantially in the Grumeti sectors tourism industry and owns three luxurious safari camps in Ikorongo, Ikoma and Grumeti.
The company has often been in the news over controversies with staff and reportedly fired several of them recently over allegations of covertly supporting poaching and the sale of bushmeat, a case now apparently in court, while on another occasion allegations were made against a manager for locking a staff member into the cold store.
The company made waves when it was reported some years ago that they were planning to build an international airport near the main Serengeti National Park, prompting opposition from conservationists who in turn had proposed to rather invest in Mwanza Airport and fly passengers from there with light aircraft to their safari camps, all of which have nearby airstrips for that purpose.
Concludes this correspondent, that whatever the truth is and will come out during the investigation, it is once again negative publicity for Grumeti and its American owner and maybe time that they comprehensively review their community relations, operating practices and rules of engagement when arresting alleged poachers.