If the Tanzanian government has its way, 40,000 Masai will be ousted from their homeland, and the area will be turned into a reserve where wild animals - from lions to leopards - will be hunted. The displacement will also affect the seminomadic Masai's cattle herds, who graze on the land.
The sale of the land, to a United Arab Emirates safari company, would also allow animals to be captured as pets and removed from their habitats. Hundreds of live animals - from big cats to giraffes - are exported out of Tanzania each year.
Tanzania is offering the Masai 1 billion shillings (about $580,000) worth of economic development if the sale of the land goes through, but it's a betrayal in the eyes of the Masai.
"It's inherited. Their mothers and grandmothers are buried in that land. There's nothing you can compare with it," Samwel Nangiria, the coordinator of a local civil society group, told The Guardian.
If the deal moves forward, the slap in the face would be particularly stinging: It's not the first time the Tanzanian government has considered the sale, but last year the country said it would back out.
Big cats are status symbols among some of the Persian Gulf elite. But the potential impact of trophy hunting is worse than an unfortunate use of Instagram - a survey of lion and leopard hunts in Tanzania found that hunters were killing too many young male cats, which, if it continued, would lead to population crashes.
Across Africa, the numbers of lions are shrinking. Although Tanzania's lion population is understood to be the largest in the world, data regarding population trends are scant; according to general estimates, Tanzanian lion populations are stable within protected zones but falling outside them.