Strategies for enhancing local support for wildlife conservation in Maasai land, Kenya
AdvisorShaw, William W.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe primary goal of my study was to evaluate strategies for promoting local support for wildlife conservation in Masai Mara National Reserve (MMNR) and the adjacent group ranches. This was done by determining the effects of the changing land tenure from communal to individual on the Maasai lives and wildlife, and the role of the revenue sharing program in enhancing support for wildlife conservation. The study used local people's suggestions to recommend strategies for improving revenue sharing. A combination of literature review, questionnaire-based surveys and participant observation methods were used to achieve these goals. The maintenance of a viable ecosystem in Mara has succeeded due to the traditionally benign relationship between the Maasai and wildlife. However, various factors continue to strain this relationship. First, increasing human population and encroachment of agriculture has diminished areas available for livestock and wildlife grazing. Second, the absence of compensation for loss of life and property to wildlife and inadequacy of the revenue sharing has increased people's antagonism towards wildlife. Third, since the local people are excluded from the management of MMNR and wildlife in general, they consider these activities external impositions. Fourth, subdivision of group ranches will severely reduce the land available for livestock and wildlife grazing and eliminate the traditional resource sharing strategy that has sustained the Maasai for centuries. This study also revealed that although the Maasai harbor many negative feelings towards MMNR, they consider it an important asset. Further, they are unwilling to give up pastoralism and expect to continue with communal grazing after subdivision which, is good for wildlife conservation. In view of this, I made the following recommendations: implement a regional land management system with a core wildlife area (the reserve) and a wildlife management-pastoral area surrounding the core, and designated zones for agriculture; support the above system with firm government policies and incentives; redesign the revenue sharing program to cover all the affected people; promote policies that encourage diversified wildlife-based enterprises including consumptive use; transfer much of the wildlife management responsibilities to the local people.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Renewable Natural Resources