February 11, 2020 Funding Future Adventure
The rich diversity of animals who call the Masai Mara National Reserve home are constantly under threat of poachers, as is the tourism industry that supports the local populations. The Adventure Travel Conservation Fund wants to help ensure this marvel remains intact to inspire generations to come.
The Masai Mara National Reserve’s diversity of wildlife draws more than 150,000 tourists each year, providing livelihoods for thousands of local Kenyans and preserving millions of wild animals. Robust populations of lions, leopards, cheetahs and elephants make their home here, and the Masai Mara serves as the staging point of the annual “Great Migration” of wildebeests, zebras and gazelles to the Serengeti. But unfortunately, when it comes to the wildlife not everybody comes to the reserve with the best intentions.
Funding the resistance
Since 1999, the Anne K. Taylor Fund’s “Fighting Poaching to Preserve Wildlife” project has fought to make poaching in the Masai Mara an un-profitable and high-risk venture by applying legal pressure on poachers when they’re caught, dismantling and removing their traps, rescuing live animals that are already ensnared, and putting a stop to deforestation of habitat for charcoal production. The fund also supports local educational programs designed to promote an environmentally sustainable and tourism-friendly economy.
Acknowledging the significance of this work, both in terms of its impact on local wildlife populations and communities as well as the bolstering tourism industry that support them, the Anne K. Taylor Fund was one of five grant recipients of the Adventure Travel Conservation Fund (ATCF). The ATCF is a non-profit founded in 2016 by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) and other actors from the travel industry, which allocates a $100,000 annual pot to directly fund local projects that protect the cultural and natural resources that underpin the adventure tourism industry.
Photos: Marcus Westberg