Behind The Scenes: Maasai Mara
Behind The Scenes with Contra in the Maasai Mara.
In 2018, Contra Agency and Reuters Plus teamed up to produce a stunning series of films documenting the changing landscape of the Maasai Mara. Over the course of two weeks, we dived into the heart of Maasai communities to explore the relationship between wildlife, Maasai people and ecotourism to find out why co-existence is critical to maintaining a sustainable ecosystem.
Human animal conflict is one of the biggest concerns in the Maasai Mara. With Maasai communities living in such a close proximity to predators, their livestock and livelihoods are constantly at risk. In this series of films, we interviewed the passionate team of experts who are all working together to mitigate conflict; including, the Mara Elephant Project, the Mara Predator Programme and the Maa Trust.
Our team also explored the way ecotourism has helped to shape and evolve maasai traditions. For example, Maasai boys used to hunt and kill lions to prove their manhood and become a ‘moran’, yet the communities soon realised that lions and other predators were a huge driver of tourism within the area. As a result, the surrounding communities have leased their land to conservancies, enabling them to gain a monthly income that’s generated by tourism.
Maasai women have also benefited from tourism. Traditionally, the girls would collect the water, build the houses and herd the cattle; while the boys would be sent to school. However, our team discovered the Maa Trust, a non-profit organisation that has worked to improve the lives of Maasai families by establishing Maa Beadwork, an initiative where women can produce and sell bracelets and necklaces to tourists.
Working on this series of films has given us a unique insight into the way sustainable ecotourism supports the ecosystem and benefits the surrounding communities and wildlife. Through the eyes of the experts, local guides and Maasai people, we’ve had the privilege of exploring these stories through authentic documentary storytelling; and we couldn’t be more happy with the outcome.
To celebrate the end of our project, we’ve cut together a behind the scenes film which shows our team in action.
Executive Producer: Charlotte King
Director: David Hayes
Assistant Producer: Josie Otton
Production Company: Contra Agency
Josie Otton, Producer Contra Film