When colonizers first arrived in the savannas of East Africa, they saw the magnificent grasslands with scattered clusters of trees and assumed that the area used to be a great forest, now degraded by the local people. They assumed that those people were a threat to wildlife and established National Parks and Reserves to “protect” them. 

The reality stands in stark contrast.

For hundreds of years, the Maasai have peacefully coexisted with the region’s incredible wildlife through a semi-nomadic lifestyle. The scattered clusters of trees were not remnants of a forest, but rather intentionally planted around settlements both as protection from and habitat for wildlife. Pastoral livestock grazing also benefits the ecology of East Africa. Livestock such as cattle not only provide a consistent source of food in a dry region where farming can be unreliable, but also can digest the plentiful grasses that wildlife cannot. In turn, livestock leave behind poop which fertilizes the soils and allows other vegetation with greater nutrition value to grow and feed wildlife. In fact, it has been found that wildlife follow herds of livestock around! Between the Maasai and the wild fauna, relatively little human-wildlife conflict ever arose, as the Maasai have great respect for wild animals and raise cattle, to them a gift to their people from God, so that they do not have to hunt in the wild.

Adumu Impact is committed to helping restore the traditional Maasai way of life through securing Maasai land rights for the future of local communities and wildlife.