Populations of wildlife species in the world-renowned Masai Mara reserve in Kenya have crashed in the past three decades, according to research published in the Journal of Zoology.
Numbers of impala, warthog, giraffe, topi and Coke’s hartebeest have declined by over 70%, say scientists.
Even fewer survive beyond the reserve in the wider Mara, where buffalo and wild dogs have all but disappeared, while huge numbers of wildebeest no longer pass through the region on their epic migration.
However, numbers of cattle grazing in the reserve have increased by more than 1100% per cent, although it is illegal for them to so do.
This explosion in the numbers of domestic livestock grazing in the Mara region of south-west Kenya, including within the Masai Mara national reserve, is one of the principal reasons wildlife has disappeared, say the scientists who conducted the research.
Dr Joseph Ogutu, a senior statistician in the Bioinformatics unit of the University of Hohenheim, Germany conducted the study with colleagues there and at the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi, Kenya.