Joseph Kimojino, a ranger with Mara Conservancy, talks with a group of Maasai men outside Enkereri village, near Maasai Mara game reserve, April 3, 2008. The Maasai tribesmen of the Oloololo Escarpment have been hit hard, with only a trickle of visitors to the world-famous park meaning the breakdown of a compensation scheme meant to stop them hunting lions. But with the Mara Conservancy facing a monthly shortfall of at least $50,000 due to gate receipts that have plummeted 80 percent — and therefore unable to pay out when predators kill valuable Maasai livestock — tensions are rising fast. REUTERS/Radu SighetiHuman-animal relations are at breaking point in Kenya’s renowned Maasai Mara game reserve.
Visitor numbers have dropped 80 percent since a deadly post-election crisis at the start of the year, meaning the Mara Conservancy, the non-profit organisation that manages the park, is in financial crisis.
It has had to cut back on anti-poaching patrols, lay off staff and suspend a successful cattle compensation scheme that had encouraged conservation by paying local Maasai for livestock killed by leopards and lions.