Nairobi — The Kenya Wildlife Service on Thursday started moving 600 buffaloes from a private ranch to the Aberdare National Park.
The transfer, which will take 20 days and cost of Sh7 million, will see 200 buffaloes moved from Solio Ranch in Nyeri to reduce pressure on the 45,000-acre land, now the home of 1,200 buffaloes.
Other animals on the ranch include rhinos, zebras, giraffes, lions, leopards and cheetahs. KWS spokesman Paul Udoto told the Daily Nation that the move would help strike ecological balance.
“Due to high competition among the animals, the pasture level has gone down. This was worsened by the two-year drought to 2009.”
This is not the first time the wildlife is being moved from the ranch. In 2008, the government purchased a 15,000-acre ranch at Sh1.27 billion for squatters, rendering some wildlife families homeless.
The purchase prompted KWS to move about 3,000 wild animals from the ranch to various national parks and privately-owned ranches across the country.
They included Ol Pejeta Ranch, Aberdare National Park and Mwea National Reserve. The animals moved included the endangered Lelwel hartebeest, plains zebra, impala, Thomson’s gazelle and oryx.
Mr Udoto said the pressure would not be over with the transfer of buffaloes in the first phase that ends in 20 days. More buffaloes would be moved to enable rhinos to survive better, he said.
The transfer will be carried out in two more phases. “We target to move 600 buffaloes; we shall decide when to move the next 400 and the destinations,” he added.