Effects of Climate Change on Wildlife Conservation in Maasai Mara National Reserve

Effects of Climate Change on Wildlife Conservation in Maasai Mara National Reserve

By Wanjiru Jane (TTM-2-0045-12) & John Kahuthu Gitau

In many areas of the world, biodiversity is being reduced by humankind through changes in land cover and use, pollution, invasions of exotic species and possibly climate change. Assessing the impact of climate change on biodiversity is difficult, because changes occur slowly and effects of climate change interact with other stress factors already imposed on the environment. The study aims at examining the effects of climatic change on wildlife conservation in Maasai Mara national reserve. The study adopts a descriptive survey design in order to establish the relationship between the variables. The target population of the study constituted of the 200 game rangers and the managers from the 50 hotels operating in the reserve and 100 community representatives in the reserve. Stratified sampling technique was used to select a sample of 105 (30%) respondents from the target population. The study used a questionnaire to collect data from the respondents. Both open and closed ended questions were used in the construction of the questionnaire. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics (mean, frequencies and standard deviations). The findings indicate that climate change has had a big impact on the biodiversity in Maaasai Mara National reserve. It has been noted that climatic change leads to changes in the migration and dispersal potentials of wildlife. Most of the respondents noted that there has been constant migration and dispersal of wildlife in the recent past and this can be attributed to the changes in climate. The study also noted that climatic change has an effect on spatial and temporal distributions of wildlife species; as the climate becomes unbearable, the animals tend to move to other areas they can be able to survive. It therefore concludes that climatic change leads to reductions in genetic diversity and viability of (Meta) populations of species and it influences the shifts in ecosystem processes. Similarly, with continued changes in the climate it is expected that biodiversity will continue to be affected and the tourism activities which rely heavily on biodiversity will be affected to great extent. Thus, the study recommends that the tourism industry and the government work hand in hand in ensuring that appropriate policies were developed to curb increased deterioration of the climate initiated by human activities.