One of the main threats to the ecosystem of the Great Masai Mara is to be found precisely in the increase of human settlements in the vicinity of the reserves; the territories that were once the exclusive, or the prevalent place where wild animals moved in search of pasture and water even beyond the boundaries of Conservation Areas, are increasingly invaded by humans.
In recent times, new dwellings and villages have been constructed near the borders of Conservation Areas; an increasing number of cultivated fields reduce wilderness areas, and hence pastures; the growing number of  Masai settlements in Conservation Areas increasingly close to the reserve boundaries.
Cultivated fields are incompatible with the presence of wild animals as they restrict the movement of animals and subtract land that once was used as pastures, on one hand, and some herbivorous, especially elephants, intentionally enter into cultivated fields and feed on crops, on the other; to prevent this problem, farmers fence their fields, thus limiting even further the movement of animals, and sometimes even try to chase the animals with violence or even kill them.
The Maasai lead their cattle to grazing, thus depriving the wild herbivorous to feed on those pastures, this causes a reduction in the number of animals who ventures into some areas; especially wildebeests that prefer feeding on short grass, the same as that eaten by the Maasai cows and goats, it follows that these animals compete for the same pastures.

All this disturbs the animals as their range is reduced and it interrupts their regular migratory routes that often go even outside the boundaries of the reserves.

Finally, even the construction of lodges and tented camps for tourists constitutes barriers to the free movement of animals as well as creates pollution and noise that may disturb them and force them to run away.

The construction of new roads or railways that interrupt the trails of the animals can create a series of problems, as well.

The main challenges of the Great Masai Mara ecosystem to survive

  • Demographic growth
  • Excessive and uncontrolled tourism development
  • Increase in off-road driving in the reserves
  • Exploitation of the Mara River Basin
  • Poaching