Case study: conservation and management in the Serengeti

Pros and cons of tourism in the SerengetiLEDC tourism

Tourism brings income to Kenya and gives tourists a greater understanding of the area's animals and plants. The Serengeti is especially popular for safari holidays, which give tourists a chance to observe the annual migration of the wildebeest and zebra.

Tourism can also have negative impacts on the area. These need to be managed carefully to ensure that the natural environment isn't damaged for future generations.

Positive impacts of tourism

  • Conservation - tourism has supplied the economic incentive to set up national parks and conservation areas which protect wildlife.
  • Employment - tourism has generated jobs, improving the living standards for local communities.
  • Infrastructure - roads, airports and other facilities have been built.
  • Investment profits from tourism have been invested in education and other programmes for local communities.

Negative impacts of tourism

  • Environmental damage - roads and tracks for safari jeeps can erode grass cover, damaging plants and animals and disturbing local habitats. The removal of trees and other vegetation for the construction of roads can lead to soil erosion.
  • Inequality - often the profits of tourism are reaped by wealthy landowners or the hotel and travel companies in MEDCs.
  • Loss of traditional cultures - the Masai's way of life and traditional farming methods have been disrupted by the setting up of the Serengeti National Park.
  • Water cycle damage - diverting water for tourists can exploit local water reserves, leaving local people, plants and animals short of water. Tourist hotels sometimes dump waste into rivers.
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