The 8 Pillars of the Conservation Action Plan (CAP)

The 8 Pillars of the Conservation Action Plan (CAP)

The Maasai Mara Ecosystem – home to the greatest mammal migration in Africa and the world renowned Maasai tribe – is the jewel of the crown for wildlife conservation and safari tourism in Kenya. Hosting more than 95 species of mammals and over 550 species of birds, the Mara contains approximately 25% of Kenya’s total wildlife (Ogutu et al. 2015).

The Greater Maasai Mara Ecosystem, playing host to this abundance of wildlife is composed of the state protected Maasai Mara National Reserve (MMNR) of 1,510 km2 and adjacent community and private lands – historically totaling approximately 6,000 km2, forming the northernmost part of the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. With three-quarters of the ecosystem outside of the state protected area, our vision – to secure wildlife and sustainable livelihoods for a better future – will be won or lost not in the MMNR but in the conservancies and the neighbouring areas – an estimated area of 3,000 km2.

In order to focus the conservation work, eight conservation targets were selected to represent the biological diversity and critical threats, being three of them species: Elephant and Wildebeest, both of them important playing an important role in shaping the landscape, and threatened by poaching, human wildlife conflict and diverse factors that reduce their required space; and Lion, apex predator, also threatened by poaching and human-wildlife conflict. Three other targets are ecosystems, which were chosen to represent the habitat heterogeneity of the savannahs of the GME: Grasslands, Forests, and Woodlands. The three of them are exposed to conflicting land uses, such as agriculture, human settlements and overgrazing. This plan also considers non-biological targets, being the Maasai Culture one of them, not only because of its intrinsic significant value, but because it is considered a critical component to achieve and sustain conservation outcomes. Lastly, tourism represents a fundamental aspect of conservancies, which both sustains and is sustained by wildlife conservation. It is not, however, a “conservation” target per se, but rather a social target resulting from the ecosystem services provided by wildlife conservation.

All these 8 conservation targets have a critical importance for the CNR-CAP as they are the basis for setting goals, carrying out conservation actions, and measuring conservation effectiveness. The viability analysis demonstrated the urgent need to work on them in a coordinated, integrative manner. Only two, Elephant and Lion were rated in “Good” status, whereas Wildebeest, Grasslands, Woodlands, Water Sources, the Maasai Culture and Tourism were rated “Fair”. The most critically endangered target is Forest, rated “Poor”.

MMWCA Conservation Action Plan Briefing Paper


A cultural landscape where communities and partners secure wildlife and sustainable livelihoods for a better future.


To conserve the greater Maasai Mara ecosystem, through a network of protected areas, for the prosperity of all – biodiversity and wildlife, the local population, and recreation and tourism for the nation of Kenya.


Granny Violet

The last four weeks on Twitter make me want to cancel everything, book a flight to Nairobi, switch off my phone, find myself a matatu to the Mara and get some peace.…

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