WildlifeDirect files a petition in court to move Koroga Festival out of Hell’s Gate National Park

Nairobi, February 7, 2020: WildlifeDirect has filed an application in court 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 14 – 15 February at Hells Gate National Park. The hearing for the application is on Monday 10 February.

Hell’s Gate National Park is one of Kenya’s smallest and most spectacular protected areas that was gazetted to save the rare birds of prey that roost on the towering cliffs, and to protect the bizarre alien-like canyons which jets of hot steam that hikers love to walk through. This park is home to the major geothermal energy production which has also massively degraded the landscape.

“This decision to go to court over Koroga Festival was a last resort after efforts to persuade the private and state partners to move the festival, a 2-day music concert to an audience of 15,000 or more customers. The Hells Gate is the only protected colony of breeding Ruppell’s Vultures which is critically endangered,” said Dr. Paula Kahumbu, CEO WildlifeDirect.

WildlifeDirect believes that the government has crossed a line by using our protected areas for events that are damaging to the integrity of the parks and are not related to conservation.  The organization questions the very possibility of such enormous events taking place in our parks, and also raise attention to many other irregularities associated with this function. WildlifeDirect wants the disturbance to the park to be reduced, and for the habitats to be restored so that the rare bird colonies could return.

Before filing the court petition, WildlifeDirect wrote to the President of the Republic of Kenya H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Chairman and requested the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to act. We also called, spoke to and met many of the festival stakeholders and also launched an online petition with close to 2000 signatures.

The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) have demanded an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) from the organizers. An EIA required stakeholder consultation and should be done ahead of any approvals or permits.

To date, the objection to the Koroga Festival has received massive public support and backing of the Conservation Alliance of Kenya, and from local and international NGOs as well as members of the tourism industry.

This is not the first time that WildlifeDirect has taken action to save Hells Gate National Park. In 2018 our actions led the Cabinet Secretary of Tourism and Wildlife to halt another illegal development in the same park when a local developer, Idyllic Mistley House, began constructing a theme park without a permit from the Kenya Wildlife Service.

#      #     #

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.