Tag Archives: Maasai Mara

When the lion is not at the top of the food chain

This may look like an idyllic scene, however it shows one of the symptoms of a greater problem that leads to many lion deaths. It’s when lions and livestock compete for space.

The Maasai will oftentimes lead their cattle, goats and sheep into the Maasai Mara reserve to graze due to expanding settlements and fewer pastures for their livestock to feed on. What we see here is a struggle to maintain rural livelihoods and the issue of habitat loss due to overgrazing- which then leads to lions wandering out to the villages and eating livestock. This sparks retaliatory attacks by the Maasai, and the lions are usually killed by poison. This is what happened last December to the Marsh Pride lions, the stars of the Big Cat Diaries.

Lion-proof bomas, controlled grazing zones, greater regulation, and more incentives for the Maasai to live peacefully around lions can help to ensure that everyone’s livelihoods are maintained while lions are not unnecessarily killed. Efforts are underway, yet illegal grazing is still a common sight- and if it is, then it’s a sign that things aren’t working as well as they should.

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Mara, in the Maa language, means spotted, or dotted across the landscape. Sometimes one word can encapsulate the feeling of an image. The rest can be spoken by the image itself.

Here is the Mara, lightly sprinkled with an acacia tree and a family of 9 elephants. Naturally beautiful, and perfect as is. May this land never change, be protected from human development, and may all the animals within it be safe here. For it is their land as much as it is ours.

Let us respect nature, and what the earth has given us; and may we respect all creatures, great and small.