Explosive Digs May Cut Off Kenya Wildlife Migration

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"With burrow pits all over, certainly there will be no more flow of wildlife to and from the sanctuary," Warinwa said.

For example, the animals could fall into the pits, or the construction hubbub could make them avoid entering the sanctuary at all.

"In ecosystem terms, the connectivity between the national parks would cease to exist."

(Related: "Kenya Plans for Huge Sugar Factory Spark Bitter Dispute.")

After the work is completed, the abandoned quarry and remains of the worker campsites will cause a "permanent transformation" of elephant migration, said Soila Sayialel of the nonprofit Amboseli Trust for Elephants.

"The inevitable daily and seasonal passage of elephants on this route may [force] a technical shift that [might] run through peoples' settlements," Sayialel said.

(See elephant photos from northern Kenya.)

"Human intolerance is bound to increase, and conflict will occur, with both humans and elephants suffering."

What's more, the quarry could kill tourism revenues generated from the wildlife sanctuary, AWF's Warinwa added.

"The sanctuary has tourism facilities which would be closed, and that would translate into staff being laid off or retrenched," she said. "Youth who got employed as [sanctuary] scouts would certainly be victims, because there would be nothing to protect or monitor."

No Interference?

Sinohydro's Zhang said that the Amboseli site offers the best stones to build a strong road, which he said would not need repairs for many years.

He said that his company intends to use legal explosives and detonators that are approved by the Kenyan Ministry of Environment and Mines.

The government had also assigned an explosives-monitoring official to the site, Zhang said.

"We also knew that that explosives will affect the animals, and therefore intended to use them in the day, as the animals use the corridor at night and early in the morning," he said.

He added that he doesn't believe the quarry and campsite will extensively interfere with wildlife movement.

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