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The Maasai Donate their Land to Give Wildlife Space to Thrive

In 2018, Ol Kinyei, conservancy near the Maasai Mara game reserve achieved IUCN Green List status for its good governance, sound design and planning and effective management. Conservancies around Kenya’s world-renowned Maasai Mara national reserve have become a lifeline for vulnerable wild animals that continue to experience a decline in their habitat. According to Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association, Kenya has lost 70% of its wildlife in the last 30 years. The conservancy model is one way to tilt this imbalance, and in the greater Mara region, more than 14,000 landowners have embraced the idea by forming 15 conservancies that offer close to 142,000 hectares of refuge to wild animals. Apart from Ol Kinyei, other conservancies in greater Mara include Naboisho, Olare Motorogi, Lemek, Mara North, and Siana. Landowners in a conservancy identify a tourism operator willing to set up a safari camp within the new block of land. The operator benefits from tailor-made safaris since a conservancy has a higher concentration of wild animals owing to enlarged rangelands. Funds derived from conservation and accommodation fees and philanthropy are shared between the operator and landowners at an agreed percentage.