CS Balala scolds ‘greedy’ investors in the Maasai Mara National Reserve

Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has urged Narok County Governor Samuel Tunai to order for the removal of a camp built on the bank of the Mara River.

Through his twitter handle @tunajibu, the cabinet secretary said the camp interferes with wildebeest migratory. Between July and October, more than 2 million animals cross the Mara River into the Maasai Mara National Reserve from Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park.

“I have discussed with Narok County Governor @SamualTunaiabout the camp built beside the Mara River, blocking the wildebeest crossing. It’s very disturbing and we expected the governor to take action and have the camp removed.” Balala tweeted.

Maasai Mara National Reserve Management Plan

The plan which was first commissioned in 2007 by the defunct County Councils of Narok and Trans Mara has dragged for years due to competing interests in the game reserve.

Early August, CS Balala had called upon Narok County government to finalize the document by August 31 and submit to the national government for gazettement.

I have also insisted that we need a Maasai Mara National Reserve Management Plan, that will not only enhance biodiversity, but also protect our wildlife migratory corridors, from greed!” CS Balala posted.

The Kenya Tourism Federation had indicated in a document that the plan was needed in order to manage the declining wildlife population in the reserve and the greater ecosystem, control the high number of visitors and heavy vehicle congestion and control unregulated tourism facilities and other developments in the park.

The reserve is estimated to have lost at least 70 percent of buffalo, giraffe, eland, and waterbuck within the last 30 years, while resident wildebeest and warthog have reduced 75 percent and 88 percent respectively.

Plan facing opposition from the local community, leaders

A section of leaders drawn from Narok County has however opposed the document saying it will lead to job losses as well as revenue given that the reserve is the top revenue earners for the county.

There were also concerns as to how the demolition of lodges and campsites built inside the Maasai Mara will be conducted.


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