A wildlife conservationist in the world-famous Masai Mara Game Reserve has raised alarm over possible rise in poaching activities at the park.
The government closed the park a fortnight ago over the Covid-19 pandemic.
As a result of the closure, tens of leisure lodges and camps within the park remain deserted as hundreds of workers were sent home due to low business.
According to Mara-Serengeti Ecosystem Coordinator Nicholas Murero, cases of human-wildlife conflict and poaching might increase due to decrease in the number of tourists.
Mr Murero asked authorities in Kenya and Tanzania to be on higher alert since poachers might take advantage of the dawn-to-dusk curfew imposed by the Kenyan government to hunt wildlife for meat and trophies.
“The Mara is now closed and hotels deserted. Wildlife are now roaming freely in the community due to the tall grass in the protected area. This is a recipe for human-wildlife conflicts as well as poaching,” he said.
The conservationist, who is also Narok Wildlife Forum chairperson, asked the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) county rangers to partner with local wildlife conservancies to curb poaching.