Amboseli National Reserve in southern Kenya is home to the Maasai people who are nomadic some of the time and raise cattle. The reserve is also a major tourist destination where people from around the world can experience Africa and wild animals, such as lions and elephants. Today, environmental change and the future of tourism are being threatened in the area. We will consider long-term change and the more recent management of lions that may result in their local extinction.

Environmental change is often caused by a complex web of interactions among living things and between living things and their environment. In seeking to determine what caused a particular change, the most obvious answer may not be the right answer. Amboseli National Reserve is a case in point. In the short span of a few decades, this reserve, located at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro (Figure 4.1), underwent a significant environmental change.