OUR PARK OUR FUTURE
Nairobi National Park serves as a unique destination for tourists around the world. It’s the only protected area in the world with such a massive variety of animals and birds close to a capital city. It is a principal attraction for visitors to Nairobi and also serves many local residents.
Plans to hive and fence off the land for the satisfaction of the newly designed NNP 2020-2030 Management Plan presents challenges to both flora and fauna. All environmental engagements must satisfy Kenya’s national aspirations across the arch of centuries, not mere decades. Plans to build the hotel are adding to the already compromised ecological integrity of Nairobi’s air purity and proximate wildlife dispersal areas such as Kitengela, Isinya and Kajiado. We have experienced early challenges and sites of animals caught off their regular zones and have seen lions in Langata and Kitengela suburbs in the dry season. Migratory paths are facing more blockades; urban recreation for the ordinary Kenyan youth is also coming under severe threat. With climate change a reality, such will get worse. All these will invariably push up park enjoyment cost benefits for the average tourist, further disenfranchising young users for whom we are supposed to hold this national treasure and heritage we call NNP.
Land from the Nairobi National Park has been hived off for the Southern bypass, the SGR rail route, a pipeline and now a possible hotel. All these encroachments have eaten out over 10,000ha in 3 decades. The Park can hardly recognize itself!
The disruption of forests, forest-life as urban-sprawl takes over in surrounding mixed rangeland and bushlands affects population density and distribution of animals. Biodiversity is nipped at the bud, and these shorten the life of both flora and fauna. By changing the feeding habits of animals, it leads to starvation in the long term as precious flora, central to nutrition and the ecosystem support fade.
Already we have seen aquatic resources such as Hippopotamus, Crocodiles in the Mbagathi river dwindle within the Park primarily due to pollution of the river and other streams flowing through the Park from Ngong Hills.
For the above, we say many factors choke the Park. To add even one more challenge in the name of an eatery only serves to stifle an already breathless situation. It sets a dangerous precedent for all other parks in Kenya by feeding unnecessary tension and asphyxiation. The Nairobi National Park cannot breathe!
This month Wildnow foundation became the first youth organization to petition in parliament in securing our Park for the future generations. We petitioned against any further construction in NNP that is said to kill the ecosystem of the Park deliberately.
As the youth we urged, the Departmental Committee on Environment and Natural Resources does pursuant to Standing Order 216(5)(a) investigate and inquire into all the matters raised herein; and
That it does make the relevant and appropriate recommendations thereof with a view of ensuring that the economic value of the National Park to the country is not threatened through continued encroachment and that flora and fauna at the Park are also protected from extinction.
During this period of a pandemic, Kenya Wildlife services urged for global participation concerning the future of the Park. Wildnow members and youths from different countries and continents took to action to voice out on the preservation of the NNP with the hashtag #protectnairobinatioanlpark.
With the involvement of different conservationists and scientists, we did a documentary on the ecology of the National Park and its importance to Kenya as its heritage and national identity.
As WildNow, we are proud of the miles we have covered this month as the youths to protect the future of our wildlife. We have captured the attention of the government, the public and many other NGO have joined this force to support the youths in the initiative.
The final say about the management plan is
still yet to be confirmed by the Kenya Wildlife Services and Hon Minister Najib Balala(CS – Tourism).
Below are the park documentary and parliamentary session videos.