Weekly Update: Friedkin Flyer Project

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Friedkin Conservation Fund (FCF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and protection of wild lands in Tanzania. They organize large scale anti-poaching operations that cooperate with efforts of Tanzania’s Wildlife Division. SCI Foundation recently concluded a five year partnership with FCF to meet the costs of anti-poaching surveillance.

FCF trains and employs 120 anti-poaching rangers and outfits them with sophisticated technology.  This distinguishes FCF’s anti-poaching program from several others in Africa. In 2009 alone, FCF teams arrested over 2,100 poachers, confiscated 55 firearms, and destroyed over 3,000 wire snares.  In addition, they drove out nearly 37,000 livestock animals from protected areas that were illegally grazing on lands devoted to wildlife use.

The patrols operate fourteen Land Cruisers, a small aircraft, several watercrafts and two micro-light flyers. These flyers are motorized hang-gliders that provide easy air surveillance across protected lands.  Maintaining and operating this fleet of machines is expensive. SCI Foundation’s contributions were specifically directed to cover the operation and maintenance of the micro-light flyers.

In January 2013, a micro-light flyer operations base was established to increase patrolling during the rainy season. These patrols led to a number of successful ground operations. Information gathered from a single surveillance trip helped poaching patrols locate and confiscate 29 muzzle loaders, 1 shotgun, 1 rifle and four submachine guns. Just this one flight led to the successful arrest of 15 poachers.

FCF prevents the illegal take of natural resources in various ways.   Bush meat and elephant ivory poaching, timber felling for charcoal and hardwood trade, and even illegal fishing keep FCF antipoaching scouts on their toes.

SCI Foundation understands the necessity of anti-poaching initiatives and commends FCF on their success. Projects such as the micro-light flyer anti-poaching patrols help remove many threats to wildlife. Conserving sustainable populations of game species will attract hunters, and hunting will provide needed funding and support for such conservation initiatives.

Twice a week, SCI Foundation informs readers about conservation initiatives happening worldwide and updates them on SCI Foundation’s news, projects and events. Tuesdays are dedicated to an Issue of the Week and Thursday’s Weekly Updates will provide an inside look into research and our other science-based conservation efforts. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more SCI Foundation news. 


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