New Fence at Main Gate

By Paula Kahumbu:

I was horrified today to see that KWS have started fencing off a huge piece of the Nairobi National Park for the major expansion of the Nairobi Orphanage. The fence follows the main road from the entrance all the way to the club house – which is almost to the ivory burn site.

I am writing to request that you help me to demand an immediate halt these plans. I have identified the following arguments; you may have others

1. Expanding the orphanage violates the very original purpose of the orphanage – to home orphans and act as a half way house before they are released. The orphanage was never intended as a zoo which is what it seems KWS wants to create. The Safari Walk on the other hand was created as a zoo – there is no need for two zoos in the same place in Nairobi. Moreover, wilderness in the National Park should not be sacrificed for the creation of or expansion of a zoo, instead a wholesome education experience through visitation to the park should be promoted as it is far more valuable.

2. The area for expansion will require the destruction of a sizeable piece of Nairobi Park. We are not aware of any EIA having been conducted, nor are we aware of any stakeholder consultation having taken place. As you know, FoNNaP which is 19 years old, has always defended the park and although our board meets regularly with the warden, there has been no consultation of these plans, and we have not been informed of these or any other plans for developments in the park.

3. We believe that these developments are in violation of the management plan of the park which is already out of date having expired a few years ago. It is also therefore a violation of the new Act which requires parks to have management plans that are developed through a stakeholder consultative process.

4. The area of land that is being fenced off will result in the destruction of highly endangered tropical highland forest including habitats for endangered add endangered species, as well as species of concern including lions, jackals, leopard, Crowned eagle (one of the only 2 nesting pairs in Nairobi nests in these trees), Suni, duiker, black rhino and bush pig all live in this part of the forest. I am sure there are also plants, birds and other animals that will also be threatened. By degrading this habitat and alienating it from the park the KWS will be violating the EMCA, and failure to consult the stakeholders is in violation of the constitution.

I have written to the Director KWS, NEMA Director and the CS to respectfully request the immediate halt to the ongoing fencing of the park, as it is not too late to restore any damage already caused.

I have also asked for an investigation to be initiated into how this proposal was developed and passed without any stakeholder consultation or EIA.

Please help by sending your own letter to the Cabinet Secretary, KWS Director (Director@kws.org) and NEMA DG on this issue so that they can see how serious this is.

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5 comments on “New Fence at Main Gate

  1. willknocker on said:

    Director General of NEMA address is gmwahungu@gmail.com

  2. Rob Allen on said:

    Blatant short term profiteering. very sad but totally predictable. A global phenomena concentrated very much in this region.

  3. Diana van Rensburg on said:

    Why deplete the park of that area – it is so beautiful and natural and home to so many animals – who wants a “zoo” at a natural National Park – rather habilitate those animals to be returned to the wild.

  4. Will Knocker on said:

    It is so good that NEMA have instructed KWS and the major protagonist
    Dr Kariuki from the KWS Vet Lab and Animal Orphanage (now $25 for an
    overseas visitor now), to stop the destruction of the native forest in
    favour of the plan to extend their illegitimate zoo!!!

  5. Craig Bromley on said:

    I visited Nairobi National Park several times during my stay in Nairobi 18 months ago. I never once even considered going to the Animal Orphanage because I had heard it had become nothing more than a glorified zoo. I came to Africa to see wild animals in their native environment not to see them confined to cages inside a National Park. I understand the need for an animal orphanage as long as that is its intended purpose but I find the further development and expansion of this site for the purpose of permanently displaying animals which ought to be living wild in the park itself to be completely at odds with the mission and core values of KWS.

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