10-08-2020 by Leni Frau
Almost every day a fire, big or small, devastates a piece of Tsavo National Park.
This is the sad account of the last few weeks in the area of over 9 thousand square kilometers of Tsavo West, one of the largest national parks in Kenya.
Already at the end of July we had raised the alarm, after the fire that two shepherds had entered, in the area of Taita Hills, a fearful fire had developed that had burned about 120 hectares of land on the border between some private reserves and the Park, causing thousands of wild animals to flee and destroying a lot of vegetation, most of which serves as food for the animals themselves.
After the first flames, four other important fires followed one another, until reaching the Saturday night fires in the Mgeno and Lumo reserves.
This time, the usual, commendable intervention of the teams of non-governmental organizations that rushed to put out the flames, supporting the work of the Kenya Wildlife Service, was not enough. So there was a heartfelt appeal by KWS and the Tsavo conservancy associations for appropriate government intervention.
More than 400 people from Taita Taveta County were transported to the scene by bus to help with the emergency. Previously, some trusts and associations collected and spent 20 million shillings to save the land invaded by fire.
On Sunday the Kenyan Air Force also arrived on the scene, which, despite lack of means, tried to tame the flames from the akto, but the fire continues to rage.
Among the main culprits of this extermination against Nature are the breeders themselves, and the KWS is investigating the causes that led to the devastation, to understand if it is negligence or there may be interest in making a clean sweep of the vegetation. For some time now, Tsavo Ovest has been targeted by shepherds who have been sneaking illegally into the reserve to look for water and pastures for their herds.
The efforts made so far to ensure water to Tsavo National Park and its ecosystem may not be enough.
The closest savannah to the Kenya coast threatens to extinction in 15 years unless seriously created irrigation systems and new dams.