Fishy fire in Serengeti sparks claims of sabotage

Friday July 20 2018

wildebeest migration

Tourists catch a glimpse of the wildebeest migration spectacle at the Mara River in Masai Mara National Reserve. Tanzanians living around the Serengeti National Park are reported to have set the area on fire to block wildebeest from crossing over into Kenya. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

DAILY NATION
By DAILY NATION
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A diplomatic row is simmering between Kenya and Tanzania over claims of sabotage.

Tanzanians living around the Serengeti National Park are reported to have set the area on fire to block wildebeest from crossing over into Kenya.

The infernos, that have lasted for about a week, have delayed hundreds of wildebeest from Serengeti plains gathered on the Mara River ready to cross into Kenya.

Hundreds of acres of the reserve in northern Tanzania along the migratory routes are still on fire and have pushed back wildlife.

On Thursday, Kenyan tour operators accused rangers from Tanzania National Parks Authority (Tanapa) of lighting fires on the Serengeti National Park and Masai Mara Game Reserve border to delay the animals’ migration.

The wild fires have destroyed hundreds of acres of vegetation in Serengeti and blocked the gnus migration corridors.

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Tanzanian officials, who declined to be quoted, revealed to the Nation that the burning of bush is aimed at aiding regeneration of grass in the area.

However, tour guides in the Mara disagreed. They claimed the fires are meant to prevent or delay the migration, a spectacle popular worldwide and that was expected to have started two weeks ago.

Some hotels inside the park are almost fully booked. Hundreds of tourists at the Maasai Mara have camped next to crossing points to watch the animals.

Many websites have been giving updates through live feeds about the show-piece to keep tourists abreast. Hoteliers say the action amounts to economic sabotage.

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