As I took a random look at one of our local dailies today, the Standard newspaper, I was struck by the headline Tourists troop to Mara for ‘The Seventh Wonder’. With the memories of my two weeks in the Mara during my last visit there just two weeks ago still fresh, I could not help read the write up to see what people will decipher of it.
What I think is that to just a reader, it will look an interesting, tourist inviting piece; a tourist who has never seen this Serengeti-Mara migration,so called 7th wonder may be tempted to check to see if there is still chance to make it to the Mara given the migration happens in intermittent waves for much of July into August year in year out; still, the Kenyan government’s adrenaline levels must be at utmost peak levels with its pulse of excitement driving it to hysterical frenzy since econoomic recovery seems imminent especially after the many misfortunes that have befallen our country dealing it repeated blows to our economic success. I feel the urge in the government, ‘as a father’, to give a pat on the back to its child organ, the ministry of tourism and utter sell!sell!sell! Indeed the close to 550,000 tourists that have visited the area in the last 3 years is a good deal but it can be better given the harsh economic times we are trudging through.
Fine, we are the gifted custodians of the 7th wonder of the world. Conservationists must feel it is time to take time out when wildlife abundance is hailed for the moment in the Mara; while those of us locked in the unending nightmare of wildlife poisoning could also do the same. But can we? the memories of the lion (and hippo) poisoning linger fresh as these only happened months ago in the area. Kipchumba Kemei, the publisher of the article must happily and rightly proclaim (in normal circunstances) ” Their presence has increased the concentration of crocodiles, lions and hyenas along the river bank….” , may be as an animal concentration watch point to the tourists?or that the animals are bountiful?
Looking at the list of the animals that congregate on the Sand and Mara rivers during the Gnu/Zebra migration,-crocodiles, lions, hyens (and the migrating animals themselves)- all are known and reported to have been killed by Carbofuran (Furadan) in Kenya. So what the tourists are enjoying seeing to the stop wildlife team is the sample of animals that carbofuran will effectively take down. Well, this is what I also wish the importers, distributos and licencers of carbofuran in Kenya are reading between the lines. Seventh wonder of the world my foot! just brings memories of a congregation of animals amassed for carbofuran to bring down!