You’ll have to put up with images from the archives & my random thoughts instead….
This image -a recent gigantic wedding -sums up the KWS attitude to the protected areas under it’s remit, by law, to protect & preserve for the future Kenya’s priceless natural treasures. Recent policy seems to concentrate on business strategems such as ‘rebranding’, issuing new smartcards that do not work outside NNP & issuing press briefings talking of ‘world class parks’.
The reality is that the fence around the park is obsolete & is broken into regularly by folks on the city side & is obvously not electrified & the park is covered with unsightly litter.
So what happened to park management & why were there hundreds of cattle in the park on sunday (a prime day for visitors, many of whom fork out 40$ to KWS to enter the park…)? Where is all the revenue going? To pen-pushers sitting on their computers in KWS HQ thinking of how to bolster revenues whilst Kenya’s protected areas struggle to survive……
THIS is who KWS should be thinking of…..recent calculations extapolated from Kenya’s income from tourism (divided by the number of lions estimated to exist in the country) show that each wild lion could be worth a million bucks as assets to lure in tourists rightly fascinated by big cats…….
Nairobi National Park is a birder’s mecca, with wetland & savannah & forest species to be found within it’s humanless borders. These are our only sp. of sandgrouse – the yellow throated, common on the Athi/Kapiti plains….
The wildebeest are back. Nearly a thousand of them are in the park right now.
There were once an estimated 100,000 of this species in our ecosystem.
The park does not look like this anymore……all the grass (too much of it for many years) is but a memory. The drought, cattle invasion & the forcing of all the wild herbivores into the park from the rapidly humanising plains outside Nairobi mean that the grasslands of the park are now ‘short grass plains’ & likely to remain so with grazing pressure from resident grazers & illegal cattle which KWS are unable or unwilling to control.
Athi River & Kitengela are 2 of the fastest growing urban/industrial centres in Kenya & they are immediately adjacent to the park & it’s dispersal area, an area of quarries, fences, piecemeal buiding & people hungry for meat…..
Paradoxically there are still hundreds of gazelles in the Sheep & Goat Area next to Kitengela township. They should move into the park now that it is suitable short grass habitat.
Thre are currently 3,000 + zebra in the park. Notice Kitengela town on the horizon.
Our remaining wildlife is rapidly becoming confined to the park area itself & it behoves KWS to take their management responsibilities in this time of very rapid change much more seriously .