Kenya’s Narok County is expected to implement a management plan aimed to conserve the biodiversity in the Maasai Mara National Reserve.
In recent years, several lions have died in the Mara after being poisoned by herdsmen to prevent them from attacking their livestock. According to conservationists, lion numbers in Africa have decreased by about 50 percent since 2003, and a recent study found their numbers are likely to fall again by half in the next 20 years without major conservation efforts. Cattle illegally grazing on the reserve are diminishing plant life thereby driving away herbivores. The population of black rhinos was also fairly numerous until 1960, but it was severely depleted by poaching in the 1970s and 1980s, dropping to a low of 15 individuals.
It was against this backdrop that Narok County, with support from wildlife stakeholders, developed a management plan to help combat poaching. The plan will also help tackle human-wildlife conflict and contain incidents of poisoning big cats. Narok governor, Samuel Tunai says, “The plan developed by the county and other stakeholders seeks to conserve the reserve’s biodiversity for it to maintain its status of
being Kenya’s top park. We are putting measures in place to sort out existing challenges such as poaching and human-wildlife conflict.”
He adds that the county would enhance ticket inspection to increase revenue collection from $27 million per year to by between 50 and 85 percent by 2020.
Compiled by: Melissa Jane Cook. Source: Mathias Ringa.