Tourists left stranded in Mara demo
Posted Thursday, August 9 2012 at 23:00
- Residents protest the killing of a middle-aged woman by a stray elephant
Tourists were on Thursday stranded for eight hours after the Narok-Mara road was blocked by residents.
They were protesting the killing of a middle-aged woman by a stray elephant in Ewuaso Ngiro area.
The protesters blocked the Narok-Maasai Mara road at the Ewuaso Ngiro Bridge holding up tourists heading to and from the world-famous game reserve.
The middle-aged woman was trampled on by a marauding elephant killing her on the spot at Esupetai, on the outskirts of Maasai Mara.
According to the victim’s relative Simon Yenko, the woman had gone to relieve herself in bush some 100 metres from her home when she was attacked.
Narok North DC Joseph Musau and deputy police chief Rueben Muli tried but failed to persuade the protestors to open the road.
The residents demanded to meet Kenya Wildlife Service director Julius Kipngetich and Wildlife minister Noah Wekesa.
Area councillor Noolkisaruni Nampaso accused the wildlife agency of laxity and giving priority to wild animals at the expense of human life.
The residents threatened to kill five elephants in the next 24 hours unless the animals were relocated.
“Just as it happened in Kitengela, we shall not sit and watch as animals destroy our lives and properties. We will arm ourselves and kill them,” warned residents.
Wildlife senior warden Bernard Koruta said there were plans to relocate the elephants to the Maasai Mara in the next two weeks.
An Australian tourist visiting Kenya for the first time with his family, Mr Jerry Bennet, said they were to have lunch at Matira camp in the game reserve before their evening game drive.
Another tourist Edmund Bruise travelling to Nairobi to catch an afternoon flight said he postponed his travel for a day, since he could not make it on time.
“I am incurring an extra expense due to the demonstrations, I’m held up here, there is no way I can make it to Nairobi on time,” he added.
Mr Riamit Kimaren, who works with a local NGO Ilepa, asked: “Why is the state prioritising the tourism dollar rather than the lives of the locals?”