Wednesday 3 April 2019

People's indiscriminate land use is wrecking the Maasai Mara

New research shows how activities like farming, erecting fences and settlements are hemming in the core protected areas of Kenya's  Maasai Mara. This is putting huge pressure on the environment. Grasslands are being reduced and becoming fragmented, and more prone to damage by the stress of climate change.

Between 1977 and 2016 The number of fenced plots has increased by more than 20% since 2010 outside of the core protected area. The number of new bomas was rising in parts of the Mara by up to three new bomas per square kilometre per year. There was also a massive increase in the number of sheep and goats (276.2%) and a slight decrease in the number of cattle (9.4%) in the Narok region in Kenya.

Livestock paths were prevalent and visible up to 5km or more inside te core areas. This illegal grazing is in competion with the wildlife and reduces the quantity and quality of food available.

From 1977 to 2016, illegal incursions into the Maasai Mara national reserve by cattle increased by 1053% and by sheep and goats by 1174%.

The numbers of resident wildlife species declined by between 40% and 87%. In addition, 63.5% fewer migratory wildebeest used the reserve.

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