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A screen grab of wildebeests trying to cross the Mara River where a hotel is constructed on the migration corridor.

Kenya

NEMA shuts hotel on wildebeest migration corridor in the Mara

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 19- The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has closed the Mara Ngeche hotel in Maasai Mara game reserve for standing in the way of wildebeests migration.

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala had warned of action last week, when a video went viral, showing people at the hotel chasing away dozens of the wildebeests.

Kenyans then took to social media to demand closure of the hotel whose management insists is not on the migration corridor.

But in a statement issued on Friday, NEMA said the hotel had been ordered to undertake a fresh environmental assessment to determine its suitability.

NEMA said the hotel was encroaching into the riparian reserve of the Mara River.

NEMA now plans to “constitute an interagency team to audit all facilities in the Mara ecosystem in the next one month.”

“All non-compliant facilities will be closed and owners prosecuted,” the authority warned. There are 20 such facilities along the river.

The Great wildebeest migration is one of the seven wonders of the world and involves 2 million or more animals which migrate in a clockwise direction across the ecosystems of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and Kenya’s Masai Mara.

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It involves wildebeests, Zebras and Gazelles attracting many tourists.

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