The greater Maasai Mara ecosystem comprises the Maasai Mara National Reserve, the surrounding conservancies, and the neighboring Maasai community. They believe in securing wildlife and practicing sustainable livelihoods for a bright future for both people and wildlife. All these have been made possible by the partnership of willing communities and wildlife partners.
Interesting important facts to know include:
- Only 25% of the ecosystem is protected by the Kenyan government (i.e Maasai Mara National Park)
- It is approximated that 25% of Kenya’s Wildlife is found here.
- Its a home to more than 95 mammal species and 500 bird species.
- Conservancies cover approximately 1300 kilometers squared
- These conservancies support 5000 landowners’ livelihoods.
These conservancies were all established both independently and organically. They do face critical threats and constraints but they have been doing their best in ensuring that Mara is great.
Some of the threats facing them include:
- Lack of fencing making it difficult to what land belongs to who.
- Unplanned settlements and urbanization as people continue to encroach the area due to the growing population.
- Unsustainable grazing due to lack of some organization techniques in place.
- Increased human-wildlife conflict
- Rampant charcoal burning and logging
- Poor infrastructure
- Poaching of the wildlife.
- More land being used for agriculture.
- Loss of the Maasai culture.
- Sand extraction.
- Exposure to pollution.
These threats mainly target:
- Elephants, lions, and wildebeest.
- Forests, grasslands, and woodlands
- Maasai culture
The Conservancies came together and came up with an action plan containing strategies that could help them overcome these threats:
- Land use planning for a long-term functional ecosystem by expanding land under conservation. They would be able to allow restoration of the degraded areas, increase land resilience and connectivity across the ecosystem.
- Sustainable grazing and beef production by reducing the competition of the resources between the wildlife and livestock. They would decrease the herds of livestock and increase their productivity hence increasing income.
- Preserving the Maasai culture by empowering the Maasai cultural pillars. They would be respectful of their surroundings and honor Maasai culture hence promoting harmonious relationships between people, wildlife, and the local environment.
- Creation of a harmonious co-existence between people and nature by keeping wildlife populations stable and reducing the human footprint on the environment.
- Have long-term financial stability for the conservancies by maximizing revenue streams. They would strengthen the tourism product quality, cattle enterprise, philanthropic support, carbon credits as well as other potential sources of income.
Mara has always been a free-roaming safe for wildlife, livestock, and people.