Poaching unfortunately involves both animals and vegetation and it is difficult to monitor, especially in remote extensive areas.
The Kenyan government is seriously committed to fight against poaching and to preserve its natural resources: National Parks in the KWS, Kenya Wildlife Service, are engaged in this fight; while in the National Reserves the task of monitoring the areas is assigned to local governments; in the Masai Mara a key role is played by the individual private reserves that have private anti-poaching experts.
Subsistence poaching concerns both the vegetation, i.e. the Maasai women who go to collect wood for the fire or make coal, and the animals, i.e. mammals, birds and fishes that are hunted for food; this can be found especially along the Western border of the Masai Mara.
Large-scale poaching concerns both vegetation and animals with the only aim of making profit, and its impact is more massive.
Asian buyers are willing to pay any price just to be able to buy elephant ivory and rhino horn and this has attracted the attention of terrorist groups using mercenary militias to kill elephants and rhinos to retrieve these sought-after materials; their ultimate goal is to fund their military and terrorist actions thanks to the profits obtained from the sale to Asian merchants.
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