Big issues for Nairobi Park debate – Development!

Wow, there has been huge response to our call out for the big debate

Here are some ideas sent in by email and text today

1. “Are conservancies helping KWS to save wildlife?” From William Kimosop the Chief game warden in Baringo

2. “Can co-management of wildlife between communities and KWS work?”  From William Kimosop the Chief game warden in Baringo

3.  “Will the devolved system of government and the network of counties protect the NNP ecosystem and wildlife  migratory corridors?”

3. “What is the place of NNP in the Nairobi Metropolitan Region 2030 strategy and under the Vision 2030 flagship projects?”

4. “Should urban planning be part of the departments in the City Council of Nairobi, Mavoko Municipal Council, Olkejuado County Council and other local authorities have a direct role to play in the conservation of NNP and the wildlife migratory corridors?”.

The person (people) I think should be debating is (are):

  1. The local authorities
  2. Urban and regional planners- Kenya institute of planners; Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK) town planning chapter
  3. Land surveyors, roads engineers and real estate developers
  4. Government line ministries :- Ministry of lands, Ministry of Environment and Mineral resources, Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife
  5. Kenya private sector alliance, Kenya Alliance of Residential Associations


James Gachanja
Thank to Sylvia for this

The big issue(s) I’d liketo have debated is (are): The effects of developments on the biodiversity conservation within the park

I carried out a research on the Park recently with the intention of establishing the effects of developments on the biodiversity conservation for my final year project at the University of  Nairobi,my results got me scared ,one the total area is reduced with time..the new road will reduce the total area,a section of magadi and mombasa roads lie within the park as from my analysis,the warden confirmed to me that no specific procedure is followed when establishing new trails within the park,The mokoyeti river(from geo eye image) the key river is totally polluted,the image shows a trail that brings in some polluted water through a fence (the reflectance is too high) indicating colonisation of the river by non riverine vegetion,Most dams within the park are polluted except Athi Dam ideally water bodies like the eland hole and hyena point are polluted and colonised by weeds.The satellite imagery shows cleared patches within the forested area close to where there are buildings near magadi road,.There is no available data on population of plants within this park,the bugs and insects,whereas it is so essential because life in the wild is a chain.I realised shifts in the boundary where the airport is located..iam yet to ascertain if it ever happened.From the population census of the park i realised over half the Park’s population is migratory..i got concerned over what the effect of the development of the fences have on this population now and in future…The park has been said to have over 400 bird species..garbage burning at mlolongo and the surrounding factories with smoke flying over may lead to lose of many of the species through migration or extinction…The issues were so many i may not be able to cover them all.


One response to “Big issues for Nairobi Park debate – Development!

  1. Sounds like the end of Nairobi National Park is drawing ever closer.

    This park is unique in all the world, being on the edge of a major city yet open to wildlife migrations, with every major animal represented except elephants. But, everywhere in the world, greed and individual profit usually trump uniqueness, beauty, environment and anything that serves the common good. Regardless of which country you think of, most ordinary citizens are fully occupied struggling to make a living, are often completely unaware of special resources like the park, do not use them, and are not really interested in sacrificing time and effort to preserve them.

    The average citizen of Nairobi can’t afford to visit the park, probably does not have a car that can negotiate the roads, and may never have even seen a lion. Historically, wildlife, untouchable by law, were seen as “the government’s cattle.” The majority think wildlife is for foreign tourists. Consequently, any efforts to save Nairobi National Park have been and will always be an uphill battle. More often than not they run head on into protests that people are more important than parks, and all that open space should be turned into residential housing and commercial centers. Those protestations, however well meaning, unfortunately support perfectly the self-interest of land grabbers and developers who see the opportunity to enrich themselves, and also of politicians who are happy to accept payoffs to facilitate permits while telling voters that they represent the interests of the people against elitist foreign wildlife conservation groups who only want to block development.

    If appeals to the value of wildlife and its conservation fall on deaf ears, perhaps FONNAP and KWS could gain a little traction by appealing to the pecuniary motives of those in power and the business community. Much as I loved Nairobi and enjoyed living there for a total of 10 years, I think one has to admit that, the National Museum aside, Nairobi National Park is just about the only tourist attraction that Nairobi possesses. Tourists who spend an extra day or two in Nairobi before or after safaris do so mainly to see the park. That means they spend MONEY in Nairobi, for hotels, restaurants, souvenirs, arts and crafts, jewels, taxis, entry fees, etc. That spending supports a lot of workers and their families. If Nairobi National Park becomes just a fenced in zoo, it will not be able to support either migratory animals or major predators like lions. This will make it far less attractive to tourists to spend that extra day or two in Nairobi, and a lot of that spending will simply disappear.

    This prospect ought to motivate the chamber of commerce, hotel and tourism association, and other business groups to see Nairobi National Park for what it really is, a great big golden egg, and energize them into actively supporting your efforts to protect and preserve the park. Sensible development policies can locate new residential housing and shopping centers in other places. The end result is that Nairobi can end up with both the park and housing development, and thereby maximize economic benefits.

    Helen Gichohi did some serious studies on the impact of development on Nairobi National Park. Any input from her on this subject would probably be most valuable and insightful.

    I would love to hear from anyone who may want to share experiences and stories from back in the day. I lived in Nairobi from 1971-73 and 1989-96.

    Regards to all.

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