Monday, March 18, 2013

Migration 2013: Controversy about migration

The Tanzania and Kenyan wildlife communities are once again in conflict after quoted some senior Tanzanian wildlife officials claiming that the migration may not enter the Masai Mara this year or in the near future. This is a view we don't share and seems more like a fight over tourism than anything substantiated. It is an incredibly one-sided article, without any balance from the Kenyan side.

"Increasing human activities at Maasai Mara, which is the Kenyan side of the Serengeti eco-system, is what causes the annual migration of wildebeest to reduce and eventually stop going into the vicinity altogether," said Godson Kimaro the Senior Park Warden at Serengeti National Park. See the full article at:

Kenyan and Tanzanian tourism authorities have never been able to agree to open up the border crossing (except under stringent criteria) to allow tourists to move between the Serengeti and Masai Mara. Instead, visitors have to go out of the parks, travel many miles and hours and re-enter the same eco-system, but in a different country. There is extremely limited direct access. We feel this is more to do with short-sighted tourist protectionism than providing the best experience to their joint customers, the tourists. This latest criticism seems like more of the same. Some reasons why we disagee:
- You can't judge the migratory patterns based on  one season. There are a huge number of factors that influence the migration, mainly weather
- At least some of the Masai Mara herds migrate south from within Kenya. Not all the Mara migration comes north from the Serengeti
- The Masai Mara has generally had good migration seasons in the recent past. Generally, the migration will enter the Masai Mara in July and leave in October. Some years they arrive earlier or/and leave earlier, but this rule-of-thumb has been accurate the last few years.
- Evidence from last year's migration refutes the claims of those quoted in the article.

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