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Fri Jun 26, 2020, 06:45 AM

Maasai Farmers Offer Kenya's Wildlife a Life-line

Last edited Sun Jun 28, 2020, 11:49 AM - Edit history (1)


Parsaloi Kupai’s home, situated on the edge of Ol Kinyei conservancy near the Maasai Mara game reserve, is no different from any other Maasai homestead – oval-shaped huts with an almost flat roof and walls plastered with a mixture of water, mud and cow dung. At the centre of the homestead is a cattle boma, an enclosure where his livestock spends the night, safe from the many predators that roam the area.

I cannot graze on that land any more,” he tells me, pointing to a hill far into the horizon, the outer reaches of the conservancy. “It is now owned by elephants, wildebeests and lions.”

In 2018, Ol Kinyei achieved IUCN Green List status for its good governance, sound design and planning and effective management.

Conservancies around Kenya’s world-renowned Maasai Mara national reserve have become a lifeline for vulnerable wild animals that continue to experience a decline in their habitat. According to Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association, Kenya has lost 70% of its wildlife in the last 30 years.

Researchers spearheaded by the University of Groningen recently pored over 40 years of data that revealed the negative effects of increased human activity along the Mara-Serengeti boundary. The Mara-Serengeti ecosystem straddling Kenya and Tanzania is one of the largest and most protected ecosystems in the world, spanning 40,000 sq km (15,400 sq miles).

The researchers found that areas bordering the Mara-Serengeti have experienced a 400% increase in human population over the past decade, while larger wildlife populations in key areas on the Kenyan side were reduced by more than 75%.
Michiel Veldhuis, lead author of the study from the University of Groningen, concluded: “There is an urgent need to rethink how we manage the boundaries of protected areas to be able to conserve biodiversity. The future of the world’s most iconic protected area and their associated human population may depend on it.”

Communities around the national reserve were driving their livestock further into protected areas. This encroachment, coupled with a lack of clear strategy by the government, has brought wildlife conservation to a crossroads.

Dickson Kaelo, head of KWCA, says: “A growing population has seen more land that formerly served as dispersal corridors give way to farming, human settlement and infrastructure development. However, inadequate investment in national parks and lack of a strategy to manage the more than 60% of the country’s wildlife outside protected areas has resulted in a more calamitous loss of wildlife species.”

The conservancy model, Kaelo says, is one way to tilt this imbalance, and in the greater Mara region, more than 14,000 landowners have embraced the idea by forming 15 conservancies that offer close to 142,000 hectares of refuge to wild animals. Apart from Ol Kinyei, other conservancies in greater Mara include Naboisho, Olare Motorogi, Lemek, Mara North, and Siana.

How it works
Landowners in a conservancy identify a tourism operator willing to set up a safari camp within the new block of land. The operator benefits from tailor-made safaris since a conservancy has a higher concentration of wild animals owing to enlarged rangelands. Funds derived from conservation and accommodation fees and philanthropy are shared between the operator and landowners at an agreed percentage.

“Conservation pays,” says Daniel Ole Sopia, chief executive officer at the Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association. “Money paid to landowners who have leased their land for wildlife conservation averages $7.5m [£5.9m] annually.”

Kupai receives Ksh20,000 (£193) every month for the land he surrendered to Ol Kinyei conservancy, money that he invests in livestock and his children's education.

Critics, however, ask whether setting up community-based conservancies is the best form of land use, as opposed to farming or raising livestock. Some landowners have protested over what they see as skewed agreements between them and tourism operators, with the latter being accused of making huge profits at the expense of landowners.

In their defence, conservancy proponents argue that both agriculture and livestock-keeping heavily depend on adequate rainfall, something that is in short supply around the Mara. In addition, they say the soil in the area is too rocky for any meaningful form of farming to take place, and that mechanised farming is too expensive for the many small landholders.

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Reply Maasai Farmers Offer Kenya's Wildlife a Life-line (Original post)
CatLady78 Jun 26 OP
sinkingfeeling Jun 26 #1
CatLady78 Jun 26 #2

Response to CatLady78 (Original post)

Fri Jun 26, 2020, 07:44 AM

1. Last fall I stayed in a conservancy near Maasai Mara. And

we visited a Maasai village. The conflict between African wildlife and the expanding human population should be a global issue. Somehow we must save the animals and provide living spaces and income to the native peoples.

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Reply #1)

Fri Jun 26, 2020, 08:01 AM

2. Education and Cheap Contraception

Melinda Gates said that when the Gates foundation stopped offering poor women with access to contraception (a debate poisoned by pro lifers and by suspicions of a racially motivated depopulation agenda) , poor women would come to them and ask for access to contraceptives.

As for a racially motivated agenda - it is possible. But that generally isn't how neo nazis and the far right/totalitarian regimes operate. They prefer it if people are starved of resources or just butchered.

There have been fascistic regimes that favor forcible sterilization. But generally a template involving the education of women (and men), access to contraceptives, information about the benefits of family planning and of the all around ill-effects of overpopulation is not part of a racially motivated depopulation agenda. Choice and education are key.

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