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Saving the Serengeti

Tourism, conservation, and human impacts are all converging on the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. Altogether, they reflect a growing consensus that we are at a turning point.

Evictions of Maasai Imminent

The government of Tanzania is going ahead with mass evictions of Maasai people from areas around the Serengeti. In January, it changed the legal status of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, no longer permitting human settlement. According to the Oakland Institute, this means the removal of 100,000 people, with 20,000 beginning in March 2024.

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We believe that the right policies and incentives can benefit both people and biodiversity. It’s for this reason we’re supporting a project that can reduce cattle herds and give better lives to Maasai.


Removing Maasai from their traditional lands is being justified as a way to protect biodiversity and grow tourism. Both Tanzania and Kenya say they each want five million tourists by 2025. It’s a wildly optimistic goal. But it shows a mindset of growth at any cost, that will surely cause conflict.

The China Connection. To achieve this growth, Tanzania is looking toward China. Recently the two countries signed an agreement to expand tourism by developing a new Geopark. Arrival of large numbers of Chinese travelers could be a game changer!

Kenya Park Fees. Kenya doubled its park fees from $100 per person per day to $200 per day. This means a couple on safari will be paying $400 a day on top of other expenses. Unfortunately, the change was made with inadequate lead time, and without input from tourism stakeholders. Some tourists arrived only to find they owed additional fees.

Overtourism, especially in Maasai Mara, is a major concern - especially around the migration and peak months, and it is becoming a concern in the Serengeti National Park as well.

Changing Wildlife Behavior

We know from previous studies that wildlife is being spatially compressed into the core of protected areas. Now, a study shows that large herbivores are shifting activity from daytime to evening and night. This is in response to encroaching and ever-growing herds of livestock. The implications of this shift are not well understood.

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