MORATORIUM AFTER ALL FOR THE MARA AND AMBOSELI?
Announcements made by Kenyas tourism minister Najib Balala a few days ago have heartened the conservation fraternity and given them hope that once the long overdue management plan for the Masai Mara Game Reserve has been launched, due to be gazetted very soon and then becoming law, a moratorium on new developments can be put into effect. This would according to a conservation source allow to study the long term impact of ever more camps and lodges in the wider Mara conservation area and permit the development of mitigating measures to preserve the wilderness status and not literally put another camp on every corner as a regular source from Nairobi put it.
The minister also referred to the immediate neighbourhood of Amboseli National Park, where disturbing attempts were made of late to change the use of land right in the centre of age old migration paths of game, coming and going from the park to as far as the Chyulu Hills. Here too it is expected that stricter measures will be introduced to keep those crucial corridors open while creating added regulations on the use of land owned by the group ranches around the parks.
In this connection is it worth mentioning that the more foresighted Masai clans have entered into conservancy agreements, near Amboseli notably with Porini / Gamewatchers, where the partnership created the Selenkay Conservancy adjoining the park and were not only land degradation was dialed back but where often more game is found than in the park itself.
The present renewed discussion about the new Wildlife Act, following the aborted consultations a few weeks ago, is also aimed to fully iron out concerns about such issues like keeping migration paths open and regulating the creation of new lodges and camps in sensitive sections of parks and game reserves, in the face of relentless pressures by developers who in the words of a regular contributor are about to open a cornershop at every twist of a road in every park and reserve in the country, as long as they can make money. And they give a rats *** about conservation, for them it is only potential profits which matter and if the going gets tough they cut and run. Watch this space.