4 days Masai Mara safari

Conservation of Masai Mara

Conservation of Masai Mara : Masai Mara national reserve is one of the great areas in the world known for hosting and protecting a huge population of wildlife on the African continent and the whole world at large, however the conservation and preservation of wildlife is a success of Masai Mara national reserve together with the outlying conservancies. In the past (a few years back) Masai Mara national reserve and the Mara region was being systematically stripped bare by overgrazing by ever-growing herds of cattle, excessive hunting and poaching of the local wildlife.

For a success story of conservation, the Maasai people, county council and preservation organizations joined forces and decided to work together to ensure that the lands and the local wildlife can survive and also thrive.

The Masai Mara National Reserve and outlying conservancies are a success story in wildlife preservation and conservation. Not long ago this region was being systematically stripped bare by overgrazing by ever-growing herds of cattle, excessive hunting and poaching of the local wildlife. These days the Maasai people, county councils and preservation organizations work together to ensure that the lands and the local wildlife can not only survive but thrive.


Originally the area today known as Masai Mara national reserve was part of the Masai Mara ecosystem until 1961 when it was earmarked as a wildlife sanctuary covering only 520 square kilometers, during the same year of 1962 the area was extended to the east and grew to cover 1821 square kilometers.  Part of the area was later converted into the Masai Mara national reserve managed by the Narok Country Council (NCC), eventually in 2001 the management of the western corner of the Masai Mara National Reserve and the Mara Triangle was transferred to the non-profit Mara Conservancy.

Conservation of Masai Mara
Conservation of Masai Mara

Another portion of the land was returned to the local Masai communities, this land was later turned into conservancies that lie just beyond the National Reserve border and they are administered by their respective Group Ranch Trusts of the Maasai Community.


The Mara Triangle was once haven for bandits and poachers until the establishment of the Mara Conservancy in 2001, there were large poaching camps operating within the Mara Triangle, however since the management of the Mara Conservancy in the Mara Triangle anti-poaching and de-snaring patrols keep the area safe for wildlife inhabited in the area.

Since 2001, a cross –border collaboration with the Serengeti National park has resulted into arrest of over 3,415 poachers, clearing of more than 44,846 snares, the recovery of over 200 heads of stolen Maasai cattle and the treatment of wildlife injured by the snares. As of 2009, the Mara Conservancy also initiated a tracker dog unit to assist in the protection of the Mara Triangle.

In the Mara Triangle, poaching of the wildebeests, zebras and Thomson gazelles for commercial bush meat trade is a regular occurrence.  Having the dog units to patrol the Mara Triangle has led to a higher success rate in deterring poachers.


The Masai Mara conservancies are part of the Great Masai Mara region and they are supported by the Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association (MMWCA), the mission of this association is to conserve the greater Maasai Mara ecosystem through a network of protected area for the prosperity of all that is the biodiversity and wildlife, the local population and recreation and tourism for Kenya as a nation.

The vision of Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association (MMWCA) is a cultural landscape where communities and partners secure wildlife and sustainable live hoods for a better future.

The Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association (MMWCA) is made up of 12 independent conservancies in the Greater Masai Mara region, each conservancy has slightly different rules and regulations in place to conserve the lands and the wildlife that inhabit them. The common trait of these conservancies is their goal of wanting tourism, conservation and the local Maasai people to work together for the benefit of all.

Most conservancies derive income by leasing of land by the Maasai landowners living on that respective conservancy, the land is leased to high-end safari operators for approximately 15 years on end.  Some conservancies still allow the Maasai people to graze their cattle within the confines of  the conservancy whilst other do not allow grazing by the Masai cattle herds. By leasing of their land to facilitate tourism, the maasai people are guaranteed a steady monthly income stream for the safari operators. In efforts of ensuring that the Maasai communities benefit from tourism in their conservancies, safari camps located in these conservancies are required to contribute to community-development projects. Conservancies are generally the source of income for the 3,000 landowners and their families totaling to 24,000 people.

Conservation of Masai Mara
Conservation of Masai Mara

Aside from the monetary benefits being one of the major reasons of establishing the Masai Mara conservancies, the conservancies offer a peaceful and safe habitat for wildlife. These conservancies host 30% of Kenya’s wildlife living within, each of these has its own conservation programs aimed at protecting the Masai Mara’s wildlife and wilderness. Within the conservancies, the Maasai landowners protect biodiversity within the conservancies all while following the Masai traditions that have been passed down for generations.

To protect the conservancies form the illegal activities and to ensure the safety of wildlife, tourists and the Maasai living in the conservancies, The Maasai community set out upon scout patrols with the support of national security services.  In addition to the above, there are other programs put in place such as a lion monitoring and tracking program which is led by a group of Maasai warriors known as the Simba Scouts, a predator protection initiative called “Wildlife Pays”. Another way put in place so as conservancies strive to conserve the environment is by limiting the number of tourists visiting the conservancy at any one time, in doing so each conservancy has its own maximum number of beds per square kilometers.

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