Understanding the crisis MEP faces daily, one must first understand the Mara and why these elephants are vital. The African elephants in the Maasai Mara region are in danger. In 2012, 139 elephants died in Narok Country and 83% of those deaths were from poaching or human-elephant conflict alone. Extinction is not an option. Although increased poaching and diminishing space in the Mara threaten elephant’s livelihood, we believe that elephants can be saved from extinction.
The Mara ecosystem, an extension of the Serengeti ecosystem, is Kenya’s most important wildlife area and tourism asset. The Mara/Serengeti is one of the last major wildlife refuges on Earth, stretching 25,000 km2 or 6.1 million acres from the Ngorongoro highlands in Tanzania to the Loita Hills of southern Kenya.
Most famous for its annual migration of nearly two million wildebeest and zebra, the ecosystem is also home to an estimated 40% of Africa’s large mammal species, yet covers only 0.1% of the continent’s land surface.
The Mara’s complex and intriguing ecosystem is a critical landscape for conserving not only Africa’s savanna elephants, but the other “Big Five”: lion, leopard, African buffalo and Black Rhino. These charismatic animals often get the spotlight, but many smaller species of antelope, birds, reptiles and other creatures rely on this land as well. The Mara is what much of the Earth once looked like and represents an increasingly rare expression of the diversity of life on this planet. Yet, this wild landscape will not survive long without innovative protection and management.