In a suspected stampede over 300 wildebeests drowned on a Sunday afternoon as they crossed the Mara River in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve.
Their bloated, rotting carcasses now covers the river, filling the air of Kenya’s most famous game park with the sickly stench of death.
Conservationists in the reserve have described the incidence as a “wrong-point” pick.
Maasai Mara Deputy Chief game warden Nkoitoi believes the stampede occurred because the number of wildebeests was quite high. As a result, frontline animals fell due to strong pressure from the back.
“So all the wildebeests that came from the back stepped on the first ones down and so on, hundreds died, giving hundreds of crocodiles and vultures more than they can chew,” said Mr Nkoitoi.
The chief game warden formed an animal rescue team to aid some of the wildebeests that attempted to cross and stuck in the trenches. S
‘More than 10,000 are estimated to have died since the beginning of the migration in May from different causes including predators, natural reasons, accidents and stampedes,’ Nkoitoi said
“I have lived in the Mara for the past ten years and this is by far the worst I have ever seen. It is very distressing for people who have been working to prevent poaching to see such large numbers of animals wiped out in a matter of days,” he added.
A local tourist from Nairobi who witnessed the tragic incident, also confirms that the animals chose a dangerous spot while crossing the river.
Wildebeest migration is one of seven natural wonders of the world that happens every year. During the migration, several wildebeest gather at the river banks before plunging into the water to cross over in search of pasture.
Wildebeests run across a riverbed of the Sand River as they arrive into Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve from Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park during the start of the annual migration July 18, 2020.
However, this year’s migration have been unusual. Unlike normal years, foreign tourists have been exempted from viewing the popular event due to COVID-19 pandemic.
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