Singita Introduces Puppy Force to Combat Poaching in Africa

Singita Introduces Puppy Force to Combat Poaching

In line with Singita’s newly enhanced anti-poaching strategy, the company is pleased to introduce its new Singita Grumeti Fund Canine Unit: Tony, Popo, DJ and Radar. From Washington DC to Tanzania, the brave dogs have experienced quite the journey, and will continue to live as heroes in the African wild. A project born out of a guest’s love for the conservation work Singita continues to do, the Canine Unit will make a meaningful impact on the company’s already effective tactics to end rampant poaching in the Serengeti ecosystem.

The perilous state of African animal populations is widely considered to be one of the most critical conservation issues of our time. Addressing the loss of wildlife and poaching is a significant component of Singita’s role as a conservation company. Recently Singita introduced more “boots on the ground” as conservation becomes more critical and more dangerous in the Serengeti. Empowering the anti-poaching team with more technology like the new Domain Awareness System (DAS) and a stronger foundation of scouts in the concession has played an essential role for the ongoing protection of the land.

The Singita Grumeti Fund Canine Unit will assist the new scout force to find highly valued and trafficked wildlife contraband like ivory, rhino horn, pangolin scales, ammunition and snares. The dogs can search a car, house or any specific area that Singita’s anti-poaching team believes may have any illegal items. As the program continues, the dogs will be trained to track scents over long distances. Singita’s aim is to discourage poachers from poaching, as they will quickly become aware that they have a much higher chance of being arrested, now that the Singita Grumeti Fund has dogs working in the protected area.

Having been rescued from dog shelters in the US, these previously abandoned canines are being given a second chance to protect wildlife species that are on the verge of extinction. The rescue dogs have been training in the US for months with Working Dogs for Conservation, an organization dedicated to identifying and acquiring rescue dogs to be trained for conservation projects in Africa. The dogs have experienced a warm welcome into the Singita family, and will be cared for as such. All four dogs (two Chocolate Labrador mixes and two Belgian Malanois) will live and train under the care of eight handlers, led by Mgoye Rugatiri. With experience in working with horses and dogs, his knowledge is an asset to the health and happiness of the canines.

Sleeping sickness, which is transmitted by tsetse flies, is the number one concern for the dogs’ health and will be managed very closely. The dog’s kennels have been carefully designed and constructed, with external runs for dogs when they are not training. They are fly-proof and equipped with medical facilities, allowing the handlers to monitor the dogs closely and test for early signs of disease.

Highly experienced trainers, including a top police dog trainer, have accompanied these dogs to Tanzania, where they are ensuring the dogs and handlers are working seamlessly together. Having already settled in and on their third week of training, Tony, Popo, DJ and Radar are thriving in their new environment. Mgyoye and his team of handlers have begun to establish strong bonds with the dogs as if they are their own, and Singita as a whole is honored to provide a sense of home and safety to its new members.

Singita’s goal is not only to spread awareness, but also to raise funds. The considerable funds required to construct the state-of-the-art operations base for the dog unit were generously donated by a single guest who was moved by the dedication and commitment of the anti-poaching scout force. Looking ahead, the company aims to introduce a guest program, which will aid in the monetary necessities to keep the canine and anti-poaching unit in motion. As a company dedicated to conservation, Singita is proud to have contributed to what was once a desolate area, nearly void of wildlife due to poaching, into the vibrant plains teeming with life that it is today. With the combination of an extended scout force, new technology and now the Canine Unit, Singita continues to support its 100-year plan to preserve the African wilderness for future generations.

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