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Game Over

Game Over: Conservation in Kenya looks at the changing face of conservation in Kenya and explores the impact of both colonial and contemporary initiatives, as well as how they affect the peoples who have traditionally lived off the land.

With a rapidly increasing population and escalating poverty, more people are moving into areas where wildlife once roamed freely. They are competing with wildlife for the same natural resources - water and pasture.

It is a conflict between old and new, human versus wildlife. Fortunately for humans and non-humans alike, there are some Africans who have devoted much of their lives to efforts to resolve these fundamental conflicts.

In particular, we follow the shifting fortunes of the semi-traditional pastoral group the Maasai, who are now engaged both in conservation and tourism. Prominent conservationists like Dr. Richard Leakey discuss key events in Kenya's conservation history, and what it is going to take for conservation to succeed today.

'Game Over provides an accurate, vivid and balanced portrayal of the complex and difficult history of wildlife conservation in Kenya, emphasizing how wildlife and poorer rural Kenyans both lose from human-wildlife conflict. The footage is as breathtaking as the challenge is daunting. This is not just another film of lovely wildlife footage, but one that digs in deeper, highlighting not only some of the less pleasant aspects of human management of spectacular ecosystems but also the occasionally-heroic activities of individuals and small groups struggling to make things right.' Professor Christopher Barrett, Department of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University, Director, African Food Security and Natural Resources Management Program

'Game Over tells an important story about the ways in which people and wildlife struggle to live together in Kenya. Rather than privileging 'nature' or 'society' alone, the film integrates historical, cultural, and environmental perspectives to illustrate the complexities of balancing local livelihoods, conservation, and tourism. It shows that Maasai and others are both engaged in conservation, and confronted by the ongoing challenges presented by migrating wildlife, going beyond the all-too-common demonization of local people as poachers who obstruct conservation. By engaging honestly with the brutal consequences of colonialism and poverty, the film pushes us to think about ways in which the needs of people and wildlife for space and safety can be both conflictual and cooperative.' Rachel DeMotts, Mellon Assistant Professor of Global Environmental Politics, University of Puget Sound

'A wonderful and sobering overview of the greatest 'game' country on Earth...Illegal market hunting and trapping by snares is increasing in some areas, while local tribes have evolved ways to allow wild animals and their domestic animals to co-exist. This is a must see nostalgic, yet current, cautious, yet optimistic update on what's going on from Mara to Amboseli and Tsave to Samburu.' Peter Alden, naturalist, lecturer, tour guide, Author (with Dr. R Estes), The National Audubon/Collins Field Guide to African Wildlife

'Teaches some excellent lessons on the fundamental conflicts that challenge wildlife conservation in Kenya...Well conceived and professionally made and potentially useful for classes on conservation, development and policy.' Dr. Robert Alexander, Professor of Environmental Studies, Sweet Briar College

'The director went to great lengths to interview people on both sides of the issues, including conservationists and Maasai herders...This program is a worthy addition to African studies and conservation collections.' Ryan Henry, Daviess County Public Library, School Library Journal

'Game Over: Conservation in Kenya gives historical context to the current challenges to wildlife conservation in Kenya...This film would be a good addition to a university or college library that supports African Studies, wildlife conservation, environmental studies, or history of post colonialism. It would also be appropriate for a high school or public library. Highly Recommended.' Sue F. Phelps, Washington State University, Educational Media Reviews Online


Main credits

Suzuki, David T. (host)
Marino, Sara (film director)
Marino, Sara (film producer)
Leakey, Richard E. (narrator)
McHugh, Fiona (screenwriter)
Lerberg, Helen (film producer)

Other credits

Editor, Carole Larsen; photography, Stan Barua; original music, Aaron Davis and John Lang.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

African Studies
Animal Rights
Business Practices
Conflict Resolution
Developing World
Endangered Species
Environmental Ethics
Human Rights
Indigenous Peoples
International Studies
Life Science
Local Economies
Marketing and Advertising
Social Justice
Sustainable Development
Urban Studies


conservation, Kenya, colonial initiatives, wildlife, human vs wildlife, Richard Leakey, conservation history, national parks, poaching, ivory trade, ; Mau Mau, Anne Kent Taylor, Daphne Sheldrick, Brian Heath, David Western, colonialism, big game hunting, elephants, lions, ecotourism, tourism, Africa, pastoral, population, poverty, natural resources, tradition, sustainability,; "Game Over:"; Bullfrog Films