Voting Closed:

NO ANIMALS HARMED

Tsavo National Park fire contained, says KWS

The cause of the inferno that broke out on Friday evening is being investigated.

In Summary

• The fire started in Lebanon Village, 15 kilometres from Voi town and spread across the expansive conservation area destroying vegetation.

• Key installations around the park such as electric fence and the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) in the affected area are intact.

An elephant grazes metres away from burning flames at Lebanon area inside Tsavo East National Park on Friday.
OBLIVIOUS An elephant grazes metres away from burning flames at Lebanon area inside Tsavo East National Park on Friday.
Image: COURTESY

A two-day inferno that burnt over 4,000 acres at Tsavo National Park has been put off, Kenya Wildlife Service has said.

 

Robert Njue, the Tsavo conservation area assistant director, said in a statement on Saturday that the cause of the fire that broke out on Friday evening is being investigated.

Njue said KWS teams, with the support of David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, battled the fire, ending its spread by Saturday morning.

“The fire that razed parts of Tsavo East National park has been completely extinguished. Both ground and aerial teams have affirmed that the fire has been totally contained,” Njue said.

The fire started in Lebanon Village, 15 kilometres from Voi town and spread across the expansive conservation area destroying vegetation.

“KWS appreciates the support received from partners and communities around Tsavo East National park in containing the inferno,” Njue said. 

The assistant director said that initial investigations show the fire could have been caused by burning litter from a house near the park.

“Unfortunately it [litter fire] run out of control, spreading into the park. Beside the destruction, no big game was affected,” he added.

 

He said key installations around the park such as electric fence and the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) in the affected area are intact.

Njue appealed to communities bordering the conservancy to refrain from starting fires near parks and reserves as this could easily spread due to winds during this dry season.

Conservationist Jacob Lelewu asked the agency to sensitise the neighbouring community on conservation. Recurring wildfires would slowly destroy the park prompt human-wildlife conflict, he said.

“If we destroy the conservancy, then wild animals will be forced to seek refuge at human-inhabited areas. We can avoid this disaster by embracing conservation,” Lelewu said.

Cases of perennial human-wildlife conflict in Taita Taveta county have been on the rise resulting in deaths, loss of property and injuries.

The Tsavo National Park is rich in biodiversity and contains both animals and plants of high ecological value. It is Kenya’s largest national park.

(edited by o. owino)