26 April 2012
Categories: Kenya News, Homepage News
Sadly, nearly a thousand wild animals have had to be moved from what they always knew as their home in the Konza area of Kenya. . We, like many other animal-loving people, had hoped that another solution would be available. However, in the end, animals had to give way for the development of a completely new city. With most of the 10 foot high heavy chain link fence now up around the city perimeter ,the trapped animals had to be saved!
As the Kenya Wildlife Service chopper zoomed above the animal herds,guiding them to the exit from the 5000 acre proposed city, our hearts were heavy. Everybody knew that this had to be done at some point, but on this day, the impact hit hard. The pilot was simply the best; he was as considerate as anyone could be in such circumstances. He tried keeping the animal families intact. Hundreds of animals, among them zebras, hartebeests and wildebeests were moved.
One after the other, they unwillingly moved out, as the chopper and all of us followed at a distance. They have now moved to the adjacent Kapiti plains, which they can use as their home.
As the exhausted team members drank water (kindly donated by Quest water, one of our great partners!) we discussed with the KWS team about how to ensure the remaining animals could be moved. With the rain clouds now starting to gather, we were sure that it would not be as easy the following day, and it indeed transpired that we had to suspend operations due to poor weather conditions.
Mr. Patrick Mulandi, the Kenya Wildlife Service officer in charge of the Konza animal drive, had this to say about the exercise: “We have been able to save hundreds of animals from the Konza ICT enclosure and hope to capture and move to safety the remaining Wildebeests, Ostriches, Hartebeests, Thomson and Grant gazelle. The exercise was successful thanks to our partners Born Free Foundation among others who helped us with various logistics”
Mrs. Eunice Kiarie the Kenya Wildlife Service Warden in charge of the Machakos region said “Such a massive operation requires a lot of team work which we have luckily enjoyed. The rains have seriously affected our schedules and ability to drive the animals out due to the associated muddy soil leading to a temporary postponement of the exercise”
With the continued loss of animal habitats all over the country, we need to continuously think about the future of our animals. Partnering with private land owners is critical now, more than ever before, to ensure that our wild habitats are treated with sensitivity. We will update you on the fate of the remaining gazelles wildebeest and ostrich. We will continue working closely with theKenya Wildlife Service and other stakeholders in the area to try and ensure that the animals around Konza are protected.
Victor Mutumah - Born Free Foundation Kenya.