Dear Anti-Hunters: Your African Photo Safaris Are Destroying Wildlife & Habitat

But... but... surely hashtagging about their love of nature accounts for something, right? No, not even a little. But thanks for playing!

Written by Outdoor Beasts Staff on July 4, 2017

But… but… surely hashtagging about their love of nature accounts for something, right?

No, not even a little. But thanks for playing!

The habitat is changing.

It will not be long before it is gone, unless some drastic and urgent steps are taken now,” says Joseph Ogutu, a scientist who has studied changes in the area’s fauna for 24 years. The Masai Mara represents the northern quarter of the Serengeti ecosystem that stretches down into Tanzania. The wild animals that remain here require vast and various dispersal areas to survive drought, predators and human pressure. These safe havens are disappearing. Lodges surrounding the park have erected kilometres of electric fencing; lions have been known to use them to trap their prey. Shanty towns are developing fast, —Read More

The article continues to describe a litany of problems from the masses showing up on tour busses that storm across this habitat to take pictures. Even the behavior of animals is changing, as you will notice by what the lions have been doing with the fences.

Africa is rising, the media proclaim, but it is doing so unequally. Wealthy investors in the former Masai rangelands 30km south of Nairobi have driven land up to 12m shillings (£93,000) per acre. Both the Masai, who “suffered big time”, Looseyia says, and the wildlife are gone. “It’s a threat to conservation, it’s a threat to the community. We are bordering the famous Masai Mara National Reserve. That in itself is gold. It could easily go,” he says.–Read More

Next to a ranger’s post, 200 cows are inside the protected reserve at peak tourist time. If the council cannot enforce their rules, what hope is there for preserving half a million acres of ecosystem for generations to come?–Read More

These things are all a matter of chasing tourist dollars. The same people who might scold someone for ‘culturally appropriating’ hoop earrings don’t stop to think about the harm that could come of turning the wilderness into a tourist trap.

Animal habitat is disappearing. On the banks of the Talek river, overlooking the National Reserve, you can get a room for only 300 shillings (£2.30) per night. Talek is an urban island in an expanse of protected land and the largest trading centre in the Mara. Filling stations open early, televisions blare out from restaurants and bars, and the sex workers open their doors at night.–Read More

With that as a backdrop, here is the story the article opened with. Does it still sound like their little photo excursions are ‘harmless’?

Our vehicle comes to an abrupt stop. “There, now watch,” says Josphat, my exacting young Masai guide. We cut the engine and the silence is acute. Josphat points out a cheetah’s head in an ocean of golden grass. One minibus has already pulled up on another sandy track a few hundred metres away and four heads are craning out of the roof. We sit and watch for the cheetah. All of a sudden white minibuses crest the horizon in droves. We are in a stampede. Eight of them surround us. Within five minutes we have counted 30, the drivers communicating via radio to make sure their clients tick off “the big five”. A cheetah will never kill like this; its prey will have been alerted. And if it has killed, the vehicles will make it blind to a subsequent hyena attack. But this cheetah is now nowhere to be seen. Undeterred, the minibus drivers start ploughing into the long grass. Eventually, they give up. I ask if this happens often. Every day, Josphat says.

By contrast, actual hunting trips are HELPING with conservation.


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