Africa / East Africa / Environment / ILRI / Pastoralism / Wildlife

Masai Mara has lost half its animals

A part of a herd of some 1.5 million wildebeests crosses the Mara River in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve during their annual migration, one of the main tourist attractions in Kenya, The reserve has lost a large percentage of its animals since the 1970s

The Maasai Mara has lost almost 60 per cent of its large animals, including lions, elephants, buffaloes, leopards and rhinos, according to the United Nations Environmental Programme.

A continent-wide study, released last week found big mammal populations inside national parks, including Kenya’s Maasai Mara and Tanzania’s Serengeti to have declined by an average of 59 per cent between 1970 and 2005.

This confirms an earlier count carried out by Dr Joseph Ogutu, formerly a statistical ecologist at the Nairobi based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) which claimed losses at the park were as high as 95 per cent for giraffes, 80 per cent for warthogs, 76 per cent for hartebeest and 67 per cent for impala.

The ILRI report had then met instant and strong opposition from conservationists who claimed it had got it all wrong and was exaggerated. The Mara Conservancy claimed the report released last year had failed to specify whether the findings were drawn only from the reserve or the larger Mara ecosystem.

Read more… (Daily Nation)

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