Nairobi News

GeneralMust ReadNewsWhat's Hot

The untold magic behind Maasai Mara’s community conservancy success

More than 83.7 per cent of wildlife species were found in community conservancies, according to the latest census conducted in 2021.

This figure highlights the importance of these conservancies in conserving the region’s biodiversity, as only 16.2 per cent of wildlife is found in protected areas within the Maasai Mara National Reserve and Mara Triangle.

Read also: Three-day trip to Maasai Mara for KBC reporter in baby elephants viral clip

The census revealed that wildebeest were the most abundant species in the Maasai Mara ecosystem with 37,281 individuals, followed by common zebra (32,358), buffalo (11,604), impala (10,610) and Thompson’s gazelle (8,278). The elephant population also saw a slight increase from 2,493 in 2017 to 2,595 in the most recent count.

Mr Samson Lenjir, WWF-Kenya’s National Elephant Programme Coordinator, emphasised the importance of sharing wildlife census data for scientific research and monitoring trends to formulate effective wildlife management policies.

Mr Lenjir stressed the importance of engaging local communities to help them understand the positive impact of wildlife growth on their livelihoods.

“Conservation as a land use must be meaningful and beneficial to people for it to be sustainable,” said Lenjir during the dissemination of the Aerial Census of Large Mammals in the Maasai Mara Ecosystem (2021) to stakeholders in Narok County.

The aerial survey counted 15 large mammals, namely Wildebeest, common zebra, impala, Thomson’s gazelle, Grant’s gazelle, buffalo, topo, giraffe, eland, kongoni, warthog, ostrich, waterbuck and lesser kudu.

Read also: Lewis Hamilton in Maasai Mara for holiday

The report, prepared by the Wildlife Research and Training Institute in collaboration with WWF-Kenya, points out that human activities continue to put pressure on the Maasai Mara ecosystem.

The destruction of wildlife habitats and critical water catchments through charcoal burning and tree felling continues.

In addition, the increasing fencing of land in the region fragments the landscape and restricts wildlife movement.

Captain Robert Obriene, Senior Assistant Director of the Community Relations and Outreach Division of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), further emphasised the importance of sharing research information among partners to improve wildlife and habitat management.

He revealed that the Ministry of Wildlife, Tourism and Heritage plans to launch the National Human-Wildlife Coexistence Strategy, which will address compensation issues and provide effective strategies to promote harmonious coexistence between humans and wildlife.

“We are working with county wardens to specifically address the issue of wildlife corridors in their respective county spatial plans. If this is addressed, the problem will be reduced. More importantly, partners in all wildlife ecosystems need to work together to share research information for better management of wildlife and their habitats,” explained Captain Obriene.

Read also: Maasai Mara among most photographed place in Africa