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Riz's Ramblings

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Bushdate 24-03-09


Riz Jiwa

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The Big Six....?!

Cows. Inkishu (Maa)... thousands of them, in the Mara game reserve daily.
Especially along the Northern boundary, along the Talek river... they cross into the park nightly, at about sunset. Hundreds of head of cattle in every herd, bells clonking as they cross the Talek river, between adjacent camps and lodges. Sundowners now consist of watching the dust rising from the cattle crossings, as the sun sets over the Mara.

There are WAY too many sheep around the manyattas.. overgrazing everywhere..

Recent excursions into the reserve, across the entire length and breadth of the Burrungat plain, all the way West to the Mara river, South to the sand river past Keekorok, and all i see is a few herds of Elephant in the south...but everywhere else.. a few Tommies and Topi, the off Harebeeste and Eland, Impala, not much else..

The animals have moved across the Olare Orok, to the Musiuara side and further north into the Olare Orok conservancy.
Its not hard to understand the logic in forcing their cows into the park. Land and grass specifically are the resources they are in a quest for. But sadly, in the north, more and more land has been leased out to wheat farming, leaving less space for the cattle. Tourism blindly paying massive lease fees and bednight fees to landowners is also partly to blame. The income from tourism is used to purchase guess what.... ? More cows.

Time to start capacity building on alternative incomes for the Maasai is long past... how do they save themselves from themselves?

the thing is, we can all watch and hear the authorities waxing lyrical about management plans and revenue collection and all the associated bureaucracy that comes with local government, but on a daily basis the situation getting worse and worse.. and i'm constantly asking myself...

Is there anything that interested individuals or organisations can do? If so.. what?

Do we have to wait and watch this process take control and annihilate something so unique? As the discussions continue about what type of zone system to use and what the bednight rates should be for hotel businesses, the cows go further into the park every night, and the quality of the guest experience drops proportionately..

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Game Warden

Posted

It's a spiral of decline as you hint at Riz, with less wildlife to be viewed, and overgrazing from livestock, tourism numbers will eventually drop, although of course the tourism propoganda machine will kick in enticing first time visitors.

How to stop it?
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I hate to say this, but there did seem to be little control as to the numbers of cattle the Maasai could have. I understand that it is a symbol of wealth, but now with tourism they should be wealthier!!! kinda self destructive!!

Or am I a wrong!
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The cattle problem is also mentioned in the latest Olare Orok Conservancy & Motorogi - January 2009 report.

But honestly, why should the Maasai make it better than all the Western countries? How many people warned against this big financial bubble - and nothing happened... long-term thinking isn't one of our strengths.
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