Wildlife conservators in the world-famous Masai Mara National Park have expressed fears that the park might lose its gem to rival Tanzania’s Serengeti game reserve.
They claim rampant human activities in the conservancies around the park was something to worry everyone since tourists were now preferring the neighbouring reserve.
The concerns were raised by the Masai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association (MMWCA) officials at Koiyaki Guiding School in the Mara during the graduation of 30 students of hospitality courses.
Chief Executive of MMWCA Daniel Sopia called for urgent intervention to save the tourism jewel.
“We are losing tourists to Tanzania due to congestion. Mara dropped two positions in this year’s World Travel ranking of the most attractive tourist destination and this should be urgently rectified for us to get back to our top position,” said Mr Sopia.
The conservator’s sentiments were echoed by the Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association Chairman Dickson ole Kaelo, who cited fencing as the major challenge in conservation at the Mara.
Mr Kaelo said Tanzania’s move to open up the new wildlife corridor to Lake Victoria was posing a major threat to the annual wildlife migration across Mara-Serengeti, which has over the years been a bait to local and international tourists.
“We recently saw our neighbour Tanzania opening up a new corridor for wildlife to access Lake Victoria. Wildlife such as wildebeests used to cross over to Mara from Serengeti in search of water and pasture and if they will be getting them at the other end we might not witness migration,” said Kaelo.
The Tourism ministry gazetted management plans of five wildlife conservancies aims at ensuring sustainable conservation.