Game Reserve Hotels Threaten Elephants ; TV Presenter Warns That Uncontrolled Development in Kenya Parks Could Destroy the Very Animals the Tourists Come to See
Bloomfield, Steve, The Independent on Sunday (London, England)
One of Kenya's finest game parks is under threat from uncontrolled development of hotels and lodges, conservationists claim. The building of four new hotels, which would more than double the number of beds in Samburu National Reserve, has been criti- cised environmental groups which warn that elephant migratory corridors and lion breeding habitats could be destroyed.
The BBC wildlife presenter Saba Douglas-Hamilton, whose father Ian runs Save the Elephants, which operates in the park, warned that the developments would do "untold damage" to Samburu if they were allowed to go ahead.
"These current proposed developments are all along the river. There will be a huge impact on the area most heavily utilised by the wildlife," she said. "We have to be very careful how we plan for the future. If landscape planning in Samburu is not managed it will have an adverse effect on the environment and the people who rely on tourism for their livelihoods."
Save the Elephants had been threatened with expulsion from Samburu, where the group carries out conservation work protecting the region's 5,500 elephants, at the end of April. The group was given until tomorrow to leave the reserve after being accused by Samburu County Council of "publishing malicious reports". But the charity earned a last-minute reprieved after local councillors committed to protecting the reserve managed to overturn the order. Councillor Christopher Lalkalepi said Save the Elephants was now "in safe hands. They will not be chased away."
The fight to stop the new developments will continue, he added. "These mushrooming developments are against the general management plan of the reserve. …