Court rules against petition to move Mega Music Festival out of Hell’s Gate National Park

Nairobi, February 12, 2020: A Nakuru Law Court has ruled against WildlifeDirect’s application for an injunction as well as a petition against the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the Naivasha Love Festival over the Koroga Festival which is planned on February 14 – 15 at Hell’s Gate National Park.

In a ruling before Hon. Justice J. Mutungi at the Environment and Land Court at Nakuru Law Courts, the judge stated that the court did not have jurisdiction to hear the case.

This is a great loss and injustice to wildlife and protected areas in Kenya. Section 44 of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act emphasizes the need for management plans and requires that “No development will be approved in the absence of management plans approved”.

Dr. Paula Kahumbu, Chief Executive Officer at WildlifeDirect who attended the court hearing, stated, “Success is not winning a court case. Success is thriving wildlife. It is a very sad day for Kenya and lovers of wildlife that the agency responsible for the conservation of wildlife has accepted Ksh 700,000 ($7000) despite the fact that the event imperils critically endangered species in an already degraded park.”

WildlifeDirect took action in the public interest and is now launching an Environmental Justice Desk at its office to strategically support environmental advocacy and citizen action by providing legal support.  This is to ensure Environmental and Wildlife compliance in Kenya. WildlifeDirect invites partners to support this initiative and engage the organisation to enhance sustainable development in Kenya.

Hell’s Gate is an Important Bird Area of international significance. It is home to a breeding colony of Critically Endangered Ruppell’s Vultures and is used by many other threatened birds of prey, including eagles, falcons, hawks, buzzards, and owls.

In its petition, WildlifeDirect cited that holding the Koroga Festival in the Park will go against the basic purpose of National Parks, which are intended as spaces for the protection and tranquil enjoyment of the natural environment, it could set a dangerous precedent.

This is in clear contradiction to the objectives of the National Park, in accordance with its status as a Category II Protected Area under the IUCN classification system: firstly, “to protect natural biodiversity along with its underlying ecological structure and supporting environmental processes” and, secondly, “to promote education and recreation activities at a level which will not cause significant biological or ecological degradation to the natural resources”.

WildlifeDirect’s position has been endorsed by the Conservation Alliance of Kenya (CAK) and the Kenya Tourism Federation (KTF) with many strong statements submitted by national and international organizations questioning the decision by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to host events that threaten critically endangered species in National Parks.

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For more information, please contact:

Victoria Wangui – WildlifeDirect

Email:  +254 (0) 715 845 128

About WildlifeDirect:

WildlifeDirect is a Kenyan based conservation organization that has transformed anti-poaching results in Kenya through the award-winning conservation campaign “Hands Off Our Elephants” and the production of Africa wildlife documentaries.  The vision of WildlifeDirect is to change hearts and minds and laws to ensure that Africa’s wildlife endures forever. WildlifeDirect produces wildlife documentary series’ as part of its mission to connect Kenyans to their wildlife and nature and inspire them to treasure it and act to conserve it.