Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Bringing the Giraffe Down to Earth

A recent study has revealed dramatic declines between 1989 and 2003 in the numbers (in percentage terms from 95 to 67%) of Giraffe, Zebra, Warthog, Topi and Impala at the famous 1500 square km Masai Mara game reserve in Kenya (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/apr/22/kenya-giraffes-maasai). The International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi have linked the declines to the rapid expansion of human settlements around the reserve. This area was formerly used by the ungulates for seasonal grazing but is now being intensively used for crop production and live stock rearing. Activities such as the killing of animals that damage crops and actual intentional hunting may account for part of the decline. There is a recognised need to encourage the livestock traditions of the Masai as their practises helped to conserve grazing wild animals in their traditional lands. There is also a need to ensure that these formerly neglected people benefit directly from the maintenance of the reserve and its animals as this will encourage their help.

2 comments:

Crafty Green Poet said...

I read about this too, I do hope that the wonderful wildlife of the area and the increasing human population can co-exist,

Paul Brain said...

I think it would be a disaster to simply try to expand the reserve outside its current boundaries without involving the Masai.

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