Kenya elephant centre destroyed

2010-03-05 10:38

Nairobi - A research centre that has provided valuable insights into wild elephant behaviour has been destroyed by flash floods in Kenya, Save the Elephants (STE) said on Thursday.

Heavy rains burst the banks of the Ewaso Ng'iro River, sending water crashing through the research facility and a safari camp in Samburu National Reserve.

"A wall of water akin to a tsunami surged through Elephant Watch Camp, catching tourists and staff unawares and sweeping away tents and facilities," STE said in a statement. "At approximately 07:00 the flood hit and decimated Save the Elephants' research facility down river."

Key research data, equipment and computers have all been washed away, the organisation said.

Operations manager Lucy King said she expected it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to rebuild the facility.

The research centre last year showed that a fence hung with beehives could cut by half the number of raids elephants make on farmers' crops.

Human-animal conflict is one of the major issues facing wildlife in Africa.