Kenya agonizing on lonely(Without Tourists) Wildebeest migration courtesy of COVID-19 pandemic.
Glittering plains of Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve are normally crowded with international tourists hoping to see a lion hunt during the annual wildebeest migration.
COVID-19 has cancelled everything and it was wildebeest migration with no spectators.
This was terrible for conservationists who rely on tourists to pay for rangers and protection.
By June, Kenya had already lost 80 billion Kenyan shillings ($740 million)in tourism revenue, about half of last year’s total, due to the coronavirus crisis.
This weekend, thousands of mostly Kenyan visitors travelled to the park to witness the migration.
“Once I came here, my thought and my view about everything has changed. I am embarrassed that I have not come here the 29 years I have been alive,” tourist Patience Mumo said.
“We are trying to revive the sector through the domestic tourism strategy. And that is why we ask Kenyans … to support tourism,” Tourism and Wildlife Minister Najib Balala said.
As part of that push, the government was using celebrities like Eliud Kipchoge, world marathon record holder, to showcase local attractions like the Mara.
“What has impressed me is the terrain, the environment, the good air, the presence of animals,” Kipchoge told Reuters after having a jog with game rangers.