Ministry of Tourism Licence No. MTL/3/1634

 

Ecotourism Kenya

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Lion King Gets A Serving Of Zebra

The nationwide operation, launched in Soysambu conservancy by the Kenya Wildlife Service, is due to last until the end of the month in what will go down as one of the continent's largest animal translocations yet. Shortly after daybreak, rangers in helicopters yesterday rounded up startled zebras into a large V-shaped canvass enclosure.The animals at the narrow end of the enclosure were allowed through into an adjoining pen and from there they were loaded on to trucks, each carrying some two dozen zebras.

KWS aims to move some 7,000 animals in all — 4,000 zebras and 3,000 wildebeests. At least 88 zebras had been captured yesterday, hours into the operation. Around 1,000 animals will come from Soysambu, near Nakuru, a private conservancy owned by Delamere Estates. The remainder will be taken from several other reserves. The operation, costing Sh103 million, will be carried out in four phases and run to February 28, KWS officials said.

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"Some herders lost as high as 80 per cent of their stock due to the drought and the few that were remaining were attacked by hyenas and lions and that angered the local community," KWS spokesman Paul Udoto said.

"One of the quick remedies is to restock the park. It is one way of restoring the balance between carnivores and herbivores in the park," he said.

Charles Musyoki, a scientist with KWS, explained that Amboseli Park is a "dry season feeding refuge for herbivores" where animals jostle around water holes and patches of pasture then leave when rainfall resumes in the regions they migrated from.

But last year the animals did not move out of the park because of the prolonged dry spell, and many died. "We lost significant numbers of wildebeests and zebras," Mr Musyoki said. As a result the predators turned to preying on domestic animals. Wildlife is one of Kenya's main tourist attractions.