Nairobi National Park is looking fantastic at the moment, with massive grassland regeneration throughout the park & especially in the western, wetter end.
In the past, in conditions like these, the large species of grazers -plains zebra, kongoni & eland usually migrated out of the park into the ‘dispersal area’ to the south of the park.
The sad fact is that this ‘dispersal area’ hardly exists any more & the biomass of the park is now restricted to the park & an area adjacent to the Athi River/Kitengela conurbation called the ‘Sheep & Goat Land’ which used to be a stock quarantine area & is now a vital calving ground for the last gnu which have access to the park….
Above, large herds of zebra in the Athi Basin area of the park, with large numbers also congregating in the Sheep & Goat Land outside the park.
The few zebra to have wandered further into the increasingly urbanised ‘dispersal area’ are falling prey to poachers: apparently there is a (Chinese?) order out for zebra skins….
Luckily we have c. 4,000 zebra in the park & surrounding areas, so maybe there are a few to spare …….bear in mind though, that even the resilient plains zebra is disappearing in much of it’s range (see separate WildlifeDirect story on translocations to Amboseli….)
The commonest antelope in NNP is the impala, which did well despite the recent drought.
This sp. are browsers, though they graze green grass when it is available. They do well in the diverse habitats characteristic of Nairobi National Park, comprising as it does short grass plain, long grass savannah, highland dry forest & rocky river valleys with riparian woodland…..
These ostrich have wondered out of the park into the Sheep & Goat Land……
The Athi Plains were once covered in thousands of gazelles -Grant’s & Thomson’s, which have increasingly been squeezed out by fencelines, quarries, agriculture & property development. The last few thousand -of both sp.- are found o the short grass plains of the Athi Basin -in the park & immediately adjacent to it……
Above, tommies, their tails incessantly wagging……..
A lioness (notice her teats: has she got cubs somewhere?) on the prowl in the Athi Basin , where most of the wildlife in NNP is now concentrated………this gives the grazing in the rest of the park a much needed rest.
There were several hundred eland around the Athi Dam when these pictures were taken (March 8th) including this fine bull.
This sp. no longer leaves the park- shy animals, they cannot take the level of human activity & disturbance now prevalent in what used to be their wet season ‘dispersal area’.
A pic of the Athi Basin, where most of these pictures taken (you cannot say I do not keep you up to date on this blog!)
Notice the rooftops of Kitengela township on the horizon……
A seasonal wetland on the plains so important to th fantastic biodiversity in NNP. Outside the park, such spots have been built over……..
Such as in this picture, where the reality of our fabulous park is quite clearly demonstrated: the Last of the Athi Plains, surrounded by the City……
Kongoni (Coke’s hartebeest) are another sp. now entirely confined to the park: they are breeding well & herds of cows & calves can be found all over the park.
We must have close to 1,00o 0f this sp. making NNP an important haven for these large grazers -in decline elsewhere from competition with cattle.
Pairs of Grey Crowned Cranes are nesting in most of the wetlands in the park at present.
Here’s a splendid male just for you, wherever you are…………