, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 10 – The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) will spend over Sh100 million to relocate Zebras and Wildebeests from Naivasha to the Amboseli National Reserve.
The exercise which began on Wednesday will affect 4,000 Zebras and 3,000 wildebeests and is in response to the migration of the wildlife out of the park during the dry season.
KWS senior scientist Charles Musyoki said that the initiative will ensure the preservation of the ecosystem in the Amboseli National Park.
“We herd the Zebras using a chopper into mass capture equipment, load them onto trucks and transport them all the way to Amboseli,” he stated.
Mr Musyoki pointed out that the programme will be funded by KWS but indicated that if the resources were not enough the Ministry of Finance would be consulted.
He however said that despite the heavy expenses, the project was crucial both for preserving the country’s wildlife and bringing in revenue.
“I think it is a worthy investment in the sense that we are trying to make sure that Amboseli as an eco-system does not collapse,” he said.
He told Capital News that the programme would go a long way in revamping the tourism industry.
“We are actually doing this in the interests of Kenyans because Amboseli is one of the key protected areas in this country that generates a lot of income for the public,” he said.
“By re-stocking the park with these two key species, we will be assuring Kenyans of a continued functioning of the ecosystem as it were.”
The actual migration of the Zebras and Wildebeests is normally influenced by the prevalent weather patterns.
The rainy season normally affects the supply of standing water and grass and the wildebeests and zebra will react accordingly.
Unusual weather patterns will cause the herds to move in unpredictable patterns, back-tracking or bypassing areas they may have visited in a previous year.
The main body of the migration generally follows a roughly similar route on an annual basis, but the timing can vary.
There are also lots of subsidiary movements of herds as the migration splits, rejoins, spreads out or congregates.
It is a fluid motion that is not completely predictable and drastic weather as a result of global warming also plays an important part in future migration patterns.
In 2007, heavy flooding of the entire Serengeti and Maasai Mara resulted in a high number of wildebeests drowning and affected the migratory patterns.