for National Geographic News
Kenya has begun a great migration of 2,000 animals to a popular game park devastated by crime and poaching, wildlife officials have announced.
In the 1970s Meru National Park, located in central Kenya, was "overrun" by bandits and poachers, leading to a drastic loss of wildlife, the officials said.
Now the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is wrapping up a campaign begun in 2001 to repopulate the wildlife of the 1,930-square-mile (5,000-square-kilometer) park.
"We want to make Meru National Park an exclusive park for high-end tourists where they can experience total wilderness," KWS spokesperson Paul Udoto said.
"The animals are being moved from two ranches and a national park because we realized those areas are overstocked," Utodo said.
The six-week-long relocation is the final push in the effort to restore Meru, which may be best known as the setting for the book and 1966 film Born Free, about an orphaned lion cub.
"We want to reclaim that historical significance," Udoto said.
The relocation of hundreds of impalas and zebras has been underway for the past two weeks, Udoto said.
Elephants will be transported next month, he added.
The animals are being taken in several shifts for the 250-mile (400-kilometer) drive.
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