Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association
Protecting the Maasai Mara
The Maasai Mara is Kenya’s most important wildlife and tourism area and one of Africa’s most iconic landscapes, home to a quarter of all of Kenya’s wildlife. The area provides dry season habitat for more than one million wildebeest that migrate across the Mara-Serengeti Ecosystem.
This landscape is threatened by fragmentation and fencing of savannah rangelands following the conversion of communal lands to individual titled properties over the last two decades. To address these threats, Maasai landowners and investors have together formed conservancies on private lands surrounding the Maasai Mara National Reserve.
These conservancies have spread rapidly, now involving thousands of local landowners and covering about 140,000 hectares of land, roughly equivalent to the total area of the reserve.
The Maasai Mara Wildlife Conservancies Association was established to coordinate the development of these conservancies, and help them grow into strong local wildlife management institutions. MMWCA is at the forefront of one of Kenya’s most important conservation experiments, and a key player in Kenya’s overall national conservancies movement.
Paid in land leases to conservancy landowners in 2016.
Move across the wider Maasai Mara landscape, with key habitats found across the conservancies and adjacent areas.
Lion numbers are 14% higher
On conservancies around the Mara than inside the Maasai Mara National Reserve itself, and lion populations in these conservancies are at some of the highest densities of all of Africa.
Source: Elliot, N. B., & Gopalaswamy, A. M. (2017). Toward accurate and precise estimates of lion density. Conservation Biology, 31(4), 934-943.
MMWCA is playing a central role in the rapid growth of conservancies in the Maasai Mara landscape.
The Mara conservancies are delivering increasing financial returns to landowners, creating a world-class wildlife tourism product, and supporting the recovery of elephants, lions and other species. MMWCA’s role is to promote collaboration and healthy partnerships amongst diverse actors in the Mara, secure critical areas under new conservancies and conservation areas, and strengthen the management and governance of the conservancies as new local management bodies.