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Hell’s Gate to get conservation education centre

Date Published: 08 May, 2012
Hell’s Gate to get conservation education centre

KWS Director, Julius Kipng’etich (wearing a helmet) is guided on how to use a caterpillar machine during the ground breaking ceremony of a conservation education centre at the Hell’s Gate National Park.

This year’s  To Hells Gate on a Wheelbarrow event seeks to raise over Sh15million towards building of a fully equipped conservation education centre. The facility will play a key role in the mobilisation and sensitisation of over one million inhabitants from local communities in Naivasha on the importance of protecting and conserving wildlife species as well as educating them on alternative wildlife enterprise for their economic benefit.

Speaking during the ground breaking ceremony of the education centre, KWS Director, Julius Kipng’etich, said that a memorial will be put at the centre in remembrance of the seven youth who perished after they were swept away by flash floods at a gorge in the park last month. The Director termed the accident as unfortunate and attributed the tragedy to the effects of climate change and huge variations of weather patterns worldwide. “This is largely as a result of negative human activity on the planet” the Director said. However, the Director reassured Kenyans that Hell’s Gate National Park is safe for tourists to visit and KWS will increase safety standards at the park. “KWS will also train community members who serve as guides at the park,” Mr. Kipng’etich said. The Director also dispelled fears that the park’s name will be changed. “Hell’s Gate National Park is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Its name has been gazetted by law and it will remain as it is,” Kipng’etich affirmed. Mr Kipng’etich at the same time challenged Kenyans to provide leadership for the rest of the world in environmental conservation, prevent pollution and live in harmony with the environment.

The Hell’s Gate conservation area is home to over 67,000 wild animals, however, less than five per-cent of these animals are permanently based in the protected area.  The resultant effect has been an increase in illegal game meat trade, human encroachment and loss of wildlife habitat, conflict in land use, land sub division and fencing, leading to increased human-wildlife conflict. To address most of the issues, KWS works with the surrounding communities whose land is vital for the survival of wildlife. The park stakeholders considered having a fun-cum-fundraising event dubbed “To Hell’s Gate on a Wheelbarrow” to provide an avenue for engagement. The park is famous for its hot natural geysers, spectacular volcanic scenery from towering cliffs that give one an awesome view of the Rift Valley, huge rock towers, volcanic gorges, belching plumes of geothermal steam and the Ol Karia geothermal power station, bird and game viewing amongst other magnificent geographical wonders. Hell’s Gate National Park is one of a few parks in Kenya where walking and cycling is allowed.


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