By John Oyuke
But the national reserve that is famed for its annual wildebeest’s migration could soon be just pale shadow of itself, as the effects of an imbalance between the expansion of tourism and continued natural degradation put it at the crossroads of history.
And the biggest gainer of the changing fortunes is Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, which is within the same ecosystem but has better management policies and is witnessing an increasing number of animals.
Blame has been laid on the mushrooming of tourist lodges and camps that are competing for space, pushing wildlife sensitive to human activities like lion, rhino, and elephant to Serengeti in Tanzania.
And the country is also standing dangerously close to losing its most popular tourist attraction – the annual Wildebeest Migration.
But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Experts say the increasing human activities on the Kenyan side of the Serengeti eco-system might discourage the animals from crossing over in future as they have been doing for years in their annual migration forays.
This assumption stems from the sudden change in the animals’ migratory patterns when the wildebeests stayed for only three weeks in the Mara, instead of the usual three-month, before rushing back to Tanzania.
According to a Tourism Conservator at Serengeti National Park, Seth Mihayo, the Masai Mara Reserve of Kenya, the recipient of the annual wildebeests migration from Tanzania, is currently experiencing mushrooming of hotels, human activities such as cattle grazing and the depletion of the natural green cover.
“Wildebeests usually travel in groups but a single car or a group of people is enough to disrupt the entire herd causing them to divert their course of movement. You can imagine the effect of massive buildings, batteries of vehicles and domestic animals crossing their paths,” he told journalists last month.