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Climate Change Driven Cattle Invasion Overwhelms Wildlife Reserves in Kenya

Cattle herders, wildlife conservancies and climate change are colliding on the beautiful Kenyan highlands of Laikipia with tragic consequences. Samburu, Pokot and Maasai tribesmen, driven by annually increasing drought and overstocking and abetted by politicians, are pushing tens of thousands of scrawny cattle across private and state reserves, commandeering waterholes and killing wildlife in their path. Some exclusive tourist lodges have been surrounded and one was burned to the ground.

Together with the spectacular Maasai Mara, Laikipia in the scenic White Highlands, is among the country’s wilderness jewels and a tourist magnet, but it has a dark history of Maasai dispossession, vast European farming concessions and broken treaties.

In February armed pastoralists burned down the main tourist lodge at the 44, 000-acre Suyian Ranch conservancy. Stores and garages were looted and international visitors staying there evacuated. The five anti-stock-theft policemen guarding the lodge were simply overwhelmed by hundreds of invaders.


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