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Jonathan and Angela Scott discuss the ever-increasing importance of tourism in supporting the future of Kenya’s iconic Masai Mara

Friends of Kenya have been shocked by the recent poisoning of eight lions from the Marsh Pride, prompting us to redouble our efforts to support the extraordinary Masai Mara. Without tourism to help pay for sanctuaries such as this, they will always be vulnerable. Tourism is a mainstay of Kenya’s economy, earning millions of dollars each year for the country and providing employment for thousands. Equally we must not allow this to cloud our vision as to the major issues that the killing of Bibi, Sienna and Alan highlights.

We have received amazing support from friends who have been enthralled by the lives of the charismatic stars of the hugely popular TV series Big Cat Diary that ran from 1996 to 2008. They, like us, found themselves caught up in the day-to-day joys and heartbreak of what it takes to survive in the wilds of Africa. Getting to know these predators as individuals — creatures such as Half-Tail the leopard, Kike the cheetah and White-Eye and Bibi among the Marsh Pride — is what kept our audience on the edge of their seat. We were able to reveal the complex personalities of each one. Who could forget Honey the cheetah and her cub Toto that drew 7 million viewers in the UK alone during series three of Big Cat Week??

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