August 19, 2009
We asked Paul Bondsfield at our clients Explore, adventure specialists that run nearly 50 annual group tours to Kenya, about the alarming news that the Maasai Mara’s rapidly-decreasing lion population could disappear altogether inside 20 years:
“The situation for the lion population in Kenya is very worrying, especially as the fall in numbers is so great. We would encourage more inclusive initiatives when trying to protect wild populations, no matter what the animal concerned. Many studies have shown the huge economic pulling power of a live lion far outweighs that of a pelt but is only paper value if it doesn’t flow through to people who have to live in harmony with these animals.
“Projects in neighbouring Uganda aimed at protecting the mountain gorilla for instance, ensure that local people, farmers and villagers alike, reap direct rewards from the increase in tourism numbers and education programmes teach locals the true value of the wildlife in terms of the tourist dollar and the habitat required to maintain and grow these populations.
“The same should happen more in Kenya, where the use of the poisonous insecticide, Carbofuran is speeding the decline in lion numbers as rural communities try to protect their livestock and safety. A good start would be the immediate ban on unregulated use of this poison in the country – perhaps supported by its American manufacturer. But education and support for the farmers and herders using the poison will certainly help in the longer term.
“We actively support charities and organisations that work towards these goals, both through formal relationships and more informally on the ground as an intrinsic part of our tours.”
Please do call me if you’d like to speak to Paul about this in person. Richard Mellor