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Fury as wildebeests denied entry into Kenya

THE government has cleared the air on a video clip depicting camp staff chasing away a herd of wildebeests that had crossed Mara River from Tanzania into Kenya.

Through his twitter handle, Tourism and Natural Resources Minister Hamisi Kigwangalla insisted that the camp in question which stood in the Gnus' way was on the Kenyan side and not in Tanzania, clarifying that the country had not permitted such investments to be erected along animal corridors.

“I would like to inform you that the camp is not built in Serengeti National Park, as a matter of fact it isn’t within our policy and practice for such investments to be allowed in protected areas,” posted Dr Kigwangalla.

According to the Minister, Dar es Salaam would engage Nairobi over the matter. Maasai Mara Game Reserve was part of the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem for the survival of the shared heritage between Tanzania and Kenya.

His clarification comes after a video of people believed to be workers of a camp were seen forcing a herd of the wildebeests to change their route after crossing the river.

The water pressure apparently caused a stampede and an unknown number of animals are said to have died as a result.

The clip has since elicited mixed reactions, with a section of conservationists condemning the exercise.

The Video clip would however compel Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala to demand the removal of a tourist camp built next to the Mara River and is blocking the famous wildebeest crossing.

“I have discussed with Narok Governor Samuel Tunai, about the camp built beside the Mara River, blocking the Wildebeest crossing. It’s very disturbing and we expect the Governor to take action and have the camp removed,” the minister was quoted as saying by a section of Kenyan Media yesterday.

The annual spectacle sees a portion of the 1.3million dwellers of Serengeti National Park cross the Mara River to look for grass and water.

Each year around the same time, the circular great wildebeest migration begins in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area of the southern Serengeti in Tanzania and loops in a clockwise direction through the Serengeti National Park and north towards the Masai Mara reserve in Kenya.

Accompanied by zebras, the wildebeests form a world’s largest congregation of mammals moving en masse in an endless expanse.

It is regarded as one of the most sought-after travel experiences.

The once in a lifetime event has for years, been attracting the attention of both local and international tourists.

Government has opposed a request from small-scale miners ...

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Author: EDWARD QORRO in Serengeti

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