Controversial Sh300 million camp at Maasai Mara finally closed, Nema says

By KNA On Fri, 18 Sep, 2020 13:04 | 2 mins read
Mara Ngenche camp
Wildebeests cross River Mara near a camp built on their migratory path. PHOTO | SCREENGRAB

The controversial camp at the Maasai Mara ecosystem that was encroaching on the corridors of wildebeest migratory path has finally been closed.

Speaking during an assessment tour at the camp, National Environment Management Authority (Nema) Chairman, John Konchellah, said the camp dubbed ‘Mara Ngenche’ had violated the standards set for the World Famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve.

Konchellah said that the camp worth over Sh300 million was established in the year 2008 and has been slowly expanding hence blocking the path of the stunning wildebeest crossing.

“It started with few camps but regrettably has expanded hence blocking the path of the animals. We should give the animals the first priority,” said the Nema chairman.

He reiterated that at least four tents had been erected on the path of the animals flouting the Nema set rules.

“We will be looking on to whether to relocate the camp in full or part of it before making a full report on this,” said Konchellah.

However, the camp director, Mr. Nagib Popat, said he has placed a court order to bar the closure of the camp alleging to have met all the criteria required for its establishment.

Narok County’s Tourism minister, Mr. Joseph Koila, regretted the incident saying it has never occurred since the camp was established more than a decade ago.

“We have never experienced such a situation again where the animals use the route beside the camp. But now that this has happened this year, we should take a stern stand that will protect the wildlife,” Koila said in an interview with KNA last week.

He said that the welfare of the animals at the world-famous game reserve comes first.

“This is a problem we inherited from the defunct county council that we are trying to fix now. We are, however, committed to ensuring we give the animals the best,” said Ole Koila.

Wildebeest migration occurs between the month of July and September where millions of animals migrate from Serengeti Park in Tanzania to the Kenyan side across River Mara.

A clip showing the incident that occurred on August 14, this year where wildebeest movement was interrupted by the camp that stands at the meeting point of River Talek and River Mara went viral on social media.

This led Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala to ask the county government to close the camp for interfering with the animals’ movement.

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