Illegal Quarry Devastates Communities and Wildlife Area

April 29, 2009

Illegal Quarry Devastates Communities and Wildlife Area

Nairobi, KENYA 29/4/2009 – On Saturday, Chinese-owned Sinohydro Corporation Limited began detonating heavy explosives in a sensitive wildlife area to begin the excavation of an illegal rock quarry, effectively signaling the end of a key wildlife corridor and potential tourism revenue for local communities.

Sinohydro Corporation located the quarry and a staff camp within a critical wildlife corridor extending from Amboseli National Park to Kimana Sanctuary to Tsavo and Chyulu National Parks. This corridor is vital to the survival of Amboseli’s wildlife as well as tourism and income-generating enterprises benefitting the local communities.

Community members of Oloitoktok District, the African Wildlife Foundation, Amboseli Trust for Elephants, and other alarmed conservation groups are protesting the project, which is in direct violation of a Stop Order issued by the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) on Friday of last week.

The quarry, to be used for the Emali-Oloitoktok Road, falls within the 3,000 acre (1,214 hectares) community-owned Osupuko Conservancy, which was created by 50 landowners from the Kimana community via a lease agreement signed in October 2008 with AWF.

The staff camp is located on the east side of the road, directly adjacent to the Kimana Wildlife Sanctuary, a community sanctuary providing benefits to members of the Kimana Group Ranch. The camp is in direct violation of the 2007 Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which states, “Contractor’s Camp shall… not be installed in the areas used as wildlife grazing areas or migratory corridors.”

“The quarry and camp will have a severe impact on the wildlife, natural surroundings, and livelihoods of people living in the area,” said Dr. Helen Gichohi, President of the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF). “By no means are we against the road development. However, Sinohydro can and should use an alternative site for the quarry and camp that is not in a wildlife corridor, and they should obey Kenya’s environmental laws.”

Disregarding the Stop Order issued by NEMA, Oloitoktok District Commissioner, Mr. David Ole Shege, authorized excavation to begin on April 25. Mr. Ole Shege brought police to the construction site to bar community protesters and wildlife scouts from the site as Sinohydro began the illegal work.

Currently, AWF, the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, the East African Wildlife Society, African Conservation Centre, Satao Elerai, Maasailand Preservation Trust, Ol Donyo Wuas, Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, Campi ya Kanzi, and community members are seeking the Stop Order issued by NEMA to be obeyed.

“If action is not taken soon to stop the construction, it could cause irreversible damage to the region, and hurt the livelihoods of Kenyans who are starting to participate in wildlife-based enterprises,” said Dr. Harvey Croze of Amboseli Trust for Elephants.

African Wildlife Foundation and Amboseli Trust for Elephants are not-for-profit, conservation organizations that have provided wildlife management information and conservation leadership in the Amboseli ecosystem for decades. We and the other organizations listed above are convinced the proposed quarry and camp are harmful in the extreme to the wildlife and the human livelihoods of southern Kajiado.

Photos and Maps available upon request

Contacts:

African Wildlife Foundation

In Kenya:

Paul Thomson, (+254) 20-271-0367;

(+254) 0722454494 (mobile)

pthomson@awf.org

In USA:

Elizabeth Miranda, (+1) 202-939-3324

emiranda@awf.org

Amboseli Trust for Elephants

Soila Sayialel, (+254) 722399491 (mobile)

ssayialel@elephanttrust.org

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6 Comments

  1. Dana-Phoenix Arizona
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    So how much money is Mr. David Ole Shege getting for his go ahead of this excavation?

    This has to be one of the worst news days on Wildlife Direct site.

    Instead of the song “Where have all the flowers gone” – we will be singing “Where have all the wildlife gone” The World is becoming a very sad place indeed!!

  2. Katherine Herzog, USA
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    How can this Chinese construction company simply ignore a Stop-Work-Order from Kenya’s lead environmental agency?
    Why isn’t NEMA enforcing their ruling?
    Is there anything we in the general public can do to help?

  3. Brenton H
    Posted April 29, 2009 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    Another story of how Chinese activity in Africa is destroying ecosystems.

  4. Antonio Delgado
    Posted May 4, 2009 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Hello:

    I’ve a question:_

    Is possible to organize a international campaign (with web signs, etc) to defende this corridor???

  5. Zarek Cockar
    Posted May 26, 2009 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    Any new information on the quarry? Has construction and excavation been stopped?
    Is the Center for Wildlife Management Studies involved in efforts to stop the destruction? The center’s director, Dr. Moses Okello has fair clout in the area.

    Hearing about this makes me sick. Kimana and Kuku have enough problems protecting that corridor as it is.
    Why is it that there is one country, in particular, that is almost single-handedly destroying Kenya and its wildlife?

  6. Rebecca, Australia
    Posted September 29, 2009 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    The Chinese are literally bulldozing Africa into the ground, and bribing their way right across the continent. It is happening in West Africa, Central Africa and obviously in the East too.

    Local officials would find it hard to refuse the millions and billions of dollars on offer from China – but these are short term gains.

    As China races to gobble up the world’s resources for their burgening all-consuming population, the rest of the world is suffering – yet action is not being taken as the world seems to be too scared to stand up to this bullying behemoth.

    It is at the point now where the damage is going to be irreversable.

    R

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