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Koroga Festival to go on at Hell’s Gate despite protests from conservationists -KWS

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has said that the Koroga Festival Love Edition slated to take place inside Naivasha’s Hells Gate National Park on February 14-15, 2020 will go on as planned despite oppositions by environmentalists and conservation activists.

Led by WildlifeDirect CEO Paula Kahumbu, the activists have raised concerns arguing that the event co-organized by Capital FM and Naivasha Love Festival is likely to affect core conservation arrears in the park that is home to many wild animals especially birds.

“Lets us speak out against the KWS hosting Koroga Festival inside the national park. Hell’s Gate is an important bird area, the Koroga Festival will seriously disturb one of the largest and most important vulture colonies in Africa. Vultures are already in extreme crisis due to poisoning and habitat disturbance. If this festival goes through we will start on a slippery slope of the DisneyPark. KWS as the custodians of the parks are responsible for managing them for biodervisty protection. Anything that threatens the core mandate should be rejected,” Kahumbu called out KWS in a long Facebook post after the announcement was made, eliciting debate by the public.

ALLAYED FEARS

But in a rejoinder, KWS through its Head of Communications Paul Udoto allayed the fears raised by the activists stating that the park has sites designated for hosting events where insecurity and disturbance to the conservancy is tamed.

“Kenya Wildlife Service has noted concerns over the planned Capital FM sponsored Koroga festival dubbed The Naivasha Love Edition in Hells Gates National Park in Naivasha in February 2020 and wishes to clarify the situation as follows; …. The park has sites designated for hosting events where insecurity and disturbance of wildlife is minimised. We also have clear regulations for the event organisers including timing, noise levels and clean up after events. As guardians of Kenya’s national parks, we reassure the public of our utmost commitment to maintaining the ecological integrity of these conversations and recreation facilities,” read part of KWS statement.

Capital FM , the organisers of Koroga, through its Commercial Director Farida Idris have also confirmed that they will abide by KWS guidelines to ensure the conservancy isn’t put in danger.

“We wish to assure the public that Koroga Festival will not pose any threat to the park because we will adhere to regulations set out by KWS,” Idris notes.

This will be Koroga’s 29th edition and the first to be hosted outside the capital Nairobi. Ms Kahumbu has challenged KWS to make public the environmental impact assessment report done on the park before allowing the event to be held inside.