Ranches pull down fences in Masai Mara

Wildebeest crossing Mara river and tourists at Maasai Mara game reserve.

By Ben Leshau

Conservancies in the greater Maasai Mara eco- system have pulled down fences that posed danger to wildlife.

Wildlife conservation in Maasai Mara Game Reserve is now expected to get a major boost because of free movement of wild animals across the park.

Masai Mara Wildlife Conservancies (MMWCA) Chairman Mr Francis Nkoitoi said the fences have been a major cause of human-wildlife conflicts.

Some ranches opted to fence off their land for livestock grazing after they were sub-divided, blocking traditional wildlife corridors and creating conflict between wildlife and the community,” said Mr Nkoitoi.

He was speaking at Pardamat Community Conservancy in Narok West during the launch of community projects funded by tourism partners.

The MMWCA began an ambitious exercise to remove all the fences in the conservancies through partnership with local tourism stakeholders.

The organization also kicked off an aggressive compensation program to convince land owners to remove fences and pave way for free mobility of wildlife.

The problem compounded when the government started the process of issuing title deeds to conservancies leading to massive sub-division of land around the world famous game reserve.

Among the conservancies with extensive fencing is the 16,000-acre Pardamat Conservancy where the de-fencing operation has been piloted.

“We are glad that some members realized their fenced land was inadequate for their livestock agreed to remove the fences to ensure that controlled free range grazing was the way to go,” said Mr Nkoitoi.

He however warned the land owners to refrain from fencing their parcels of land in a bid to reduce human wildlife conflict as the region is not conducive for farming.

In an effort to curb human-wildlife conflicts and ensure the
sustainability of wildlife conservation, tourism investors have also rolled out community-based projects.

Base Camp Explorer Foundation Director Svein Wilhelmsen, who is the lead fundraiser for the community projects revealed that they have funded multi-million education, water and road projects.

“For sustainability of wildlife conservation, the community should benefit from tourism and that is why we will upgrade the Koiyaki Tour Guiding School to Masai Mara Tourism College by 2022,” revealed Mr Wilhelmsen.

Narok West Member of Parliament Gabriel Tongoyo hailed the project saying over 5,000 people will benefit from a new water project.

The youth will also get opportunities for employment through the construction of Maasai Mara Wildlife Tourism College that will be construed by 2022.

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