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From 2007, Maasai elders invited conservation representatives to collaborate with them to form conservancies, seeking to increase the benefits of tourism and wildlife to local people, and to manage the grazing of livestock so that community land bordering the Mara National Reserve was not degraded to the point of being useless.
The conservancies are all owned by Maasai families who receive a fixed monthly rent per acre for their land, and in return they have moved their homesteads to large community areas on the periphery of the core area, which is set aside for wildlife and tourism. The landowners then graze their livestock on a managed rotational basis in accordance with available pasture, the location of key species and breeding refuge areas.
This model of community conservation has been extremely successful and due to the popularity of the first conservancies, many others have since been established, as more landowners want to sign up to the concept.
There are currently nine conservancies in the Mara ecosystem (all unfenced), and a further five are either proposed or in formation. The total land now protected in this way has doubled the wildlife habitat of the Mara ecosystem, bringing substantial income to thousands of Maasai people.
In additional to the monthly rental payments, camps within Olare Motorogi Conservancy donate $5 per guest per night to The Maa Trust so as to increase the benefits of conservancies beyond just the landowners (mostly men), extending the reach to women and children as well.
Activities undertaken by The Maa Trust are focused around Olare Motorogi Conservancy, however, we also work in the community areas to the South and East of Naboisho Conservancy as well as the Pardamat area.