The Government through the Wildlife Research and Training Institute has encouraged World Rally Championship (WRC) drivers to adopt wild animals. This is with an aim to boost the Government’s environmental and tourism sectors.
By adopting the animals, the drivers will help support Kenya’s wildlife conservation efforts against trophy hunting, climatic changes and human encroachment.
Speaking in Naivasha, Patrick Amondi CEO Wildlife and Research Institute said, “The funds received will be used by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to protect endangered species like the Rothschild giraffes. We have an adoption program for our animals. The international drivers are encouraged to be part of it. They can choose to own any animal they fancy.”
If the drivers embrace the request, they will join the likes of Jamaican former sprinter Usain Bolt who acquired a 3-month-old cheetah during his visit to visit to Kenya in 2009.
The 100m and 200m world record-holder paid Ksh. 1.5 million ($13,700) for the cub and a further Ksh. 300,000 ($3,000) annual fee to care of the cheetah.
Estonian speedster Ott Tanak captured attention of many on Twitter with his picturesque image, captured in the Naivasha wild, while looking eye to eye with an African giraffe.
The stage two, three and four of the Safari Rally that passed through the scenic Oserengoni Wildlife Conservancy saw the drivers encounter a pride of lions, leopards, antelopes and buffalos.
Before the beginning of the rally, a joint task force between the WRC Safari Rally and the KWS was formed to manage the environmental impact of the championship which attracted over 845 million viewers across the globe.
“We did a pre-survey on all the 11 rally routes. We put mitigation measures on the animal crossing areas, which were properly mapped. I’m happy that the championship had no negative impact on the environment. Waste was properly managed and was disposed of well during and after the rally. The Service Park has also been properly cleaned.”
Omondi added that grass has been planted in open areas around the KWS Service Park that are palatable to the animals. The KWS has also planted over 1,000 indigenous seedlings to mitigate the carbon effect emitted by the rally cars during the Safari.