Kenyan wildlife threatened by forest fires

Other News Materials 23 March 2009 19:07 (UTC +04:00)

Tens of thousands of animals were at risk in Kenya on Monday after forest fires sent wildlife fleeing and dried up water sources in a country already suffering from drought, dpa reported.

A fire at Mount Longonot, an extinct volcano popular with hikers, continued to burn on Monday, with game wardens concerned that animals such as baboons, rabbits and mongoose were trapped inside the crater of the extinct volcano.

On Sunday, thousands of zebras, buffalo, giraffes and antelopes fled the blaze in the Longonot National Park, blundering through villages and across busy roads.

Other fires broke out over the weekend, with particular concern caused by a blaze in the Mau forest in south-west Kenya.

According to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), many of the rivers feeding Lake Nakuru - home to hundreds of thousands of flamingoes - have partially dried up because of the blaze.

Authorities suspect the fire in the Mau forest was started by settlers that the government is trying to move out of the forest.

The KWS has previously warned that human settlement in the Mau forest was drying up the rivers and threatening Lake Nakuru.

Kenya is facing a drought that the government says is leaving up to 10 million people hungry.