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Kanilai is a village in southern Gambia, near the border with Senegal. Former president of The Gambia Yahya Jammeh was born in this village and expanded it after coming to power. Previously, the town had been a quiet backwater, home to small-scale maize and groundnut farmers and little else. It is now home to a presidential palace, a wrestling arena, a luxury hotel and a game park and zoo. The zoo, which Jammeh said would allow Gambians to "experience African wildlife", was unsuccessful at first, with animals dying due to hunting, predation and insufficient food.