April 28, 2009

Fading Hoofed Animals In Mara

Filed under: Introduction — parto @ 7:23 am

Populations of major wild grazing animals at the Maasai Mara National Reserve have ‘decreased substantially’ in only 15 years as they compete for survival with a growing concentration of human settlement, a new study has revealed. The study was analyzed by researchers at the Nairobi based international livestock research institute and led and funded by World wide fund for nature.

In the study it was revealed that a total of six species – Giraffes, Hartebeest, Impala, Warthogs,Topis and Waterbuck – declined markedly and persistently throughout the reserve. An analyis carried out indicate the losses were as high as 95% for giraffees, 80% for warthogs, 76% for hartebeest, and 67% for impala. These declines which were documented are supported by previous studies that have found dramatic drops in the reserve of once abundant wildebeest, gazelles and zebras.

Researchers  found the growing homan population has diminished the wild animal population by surping wildlife grazing territory for crop and livestock production to support their families. Some traditional farming cultures to the west and southwest of the mara continue to hunt wildlife inside the Mara Reserve, which is illegal, for food and profit.

While not covered in their analysis, the researchers involved in the study are quick to point out that the Maasai’s transition to a more sedentary lifestyle has been driven partly by decades of policy neglect that left many Maasai with no choice but to abandon their more environmentally sustainable practice of grazing livestock over wide ex-panse of grasslands.

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