The rare purebred cat, the Sokoke, is named after the forest whence it came: Arabuko Sokoke forest. It is in Kenya. It is 420 square kilometers in size and the largest coastal forest in east Africa. The original Sokoke is a semi-feral cat living in and around settlements. It looks rather like a wild cat hybrid but is not.
It is ironic that there are plans to hack through this beautiful forest which is the home to not only the original Sokoke cats but 100 forest elephants and three endangered mammals, six endangered birds including the Sokoke pipit. There are 250 species of butterfly four of which are only found in this Unesco listed biodiversity hotspot.
The lives of many people are supported by the forest.
An American company Camac Energy in partnership with the Chinese are carving a wide track through the forest and making preparations to look for gas underneath it by laying hundreds of explosive charges which environmentalists say will be an environmental catastrophe.
This is prospecting for gas and it could spell the end of Kenya’s forest elephants and drive nine endangered species to extinction.
The explosives will send shockwaves 4 kilometres underground.
The prospectors say they will not harm the animals and that they have respect for them and the people. They say they will carve a track with machetes by people on foot. This appears to be lies as a bulldozer has been seen felling a tree.
A local councillor said “You cannot stop this project” (he’s probably getting a hefty backhander). The conservationists are distraught.
Elephants communicate by sending subsonic vibrations through the ground and are therefore particularly susceptible to seismic operations.
What happens after they find gas? Will this be the end of another forest, another precious habitat lost to big business. This sort of thing is happening everywhere. In Indonesia they have cut down 50% of their forest which was once the size of the UK. All but 30% of the remainder will go. The virgin forest makes toilet paper amongst other goods for the West.
The Sumatra tiger is losing its habitat in Indonesia. The same could be said about the original Sokoke cat in Africa.