Game Warden

Should Nairobi National Park be completely fenced?

31 posts in this topic

With the recent lion deaths outside of Nairobi National Park, KWS shooting one and Maasai spearing another one, as reported here, is it time for Nairobi National Park to be fully fenced?

In that discussion, @@armchair bushman states:

The Southern boundary was left open with the idea that the rangelands to the South would continue to serve as a dispersal zone for the park's wildlife. That's not really the case any more. Most of the Southern rangelands have become so fragmented, being closed off by fences, farms, Eucalyptus woodlots (as can be seen in the video), residential estates, and open pit rock mines, that there's almost no way through to the Athi-Kapiti plains anymore. Maybe it's time to face the facts and just fence off the entire park. If need-be, a wildlife underpass/corridor can be created with the fences to allow some movement out to the South


Surely the ideal situation is to have a buffer zone around the park which allows the dispersal of wildlife and doesn't cut off any traditional migration routes, and what is the best solution for this?

As @@JakeGC puts forward, the conservancy model.

One way to do this is the conservancy model which we have been involved in setting up in the Amboseli and Mara eco-systems on land leased from communities. This has made it possible for lion numbers there to increase in recent years. The conservancy concept also provides income and livelihoods for the local communities and helps with strengthening of livestock bomas which is vital if people are to become more tolerant of wildlife on their land.


However, can this apply to NNP? Would a conservancy/ies be likely to attract tourism in numbers that will sustainably finance them, or would it need partial donor funding to lease the land, and @@armchair bushman writes above, if most of the land on its southern boundary has already become fragmented and partitioned through piecemeal development for residential/business use, agriculture, forestry etc., does it not become unattractive for tourists? Once land is lost through development, through subdivision, sold off to different owners in handkerchief sized portions, cleared and used for farming, fenced etc., how difficult is it to restore? Can it be restored? It seems to me from reading various reports that some sectors of the population surrounding the park don't want wildlife escaping, (or free ranging), especially the dangerous wildlife, as this week has seen so is it time to fence off the park completely, bring in management plans to control wildlife populations within, and turn it into a safari park in which animals are contained and human encroachment through development is kept out?

NNP strikes me as being such an important resource for people of Nairobi and surrounding areas to experience the wilderness, the wildlife, those who cannot afford to go on safari in their own country, who don't have the time, but can go into the park self driving or on excursions that to protect it now and in future, to fence is perhaps not a question of if, but when...

 

And a follow up question: how would it be financed?

 

What would be the negative impact on the wildlife?

 

What would fencing the park mean to local communities on its boundaries?

 

What do you think?

 

 

Note: previous discussions with some relation to the point of fencing wildlife areas are:

 

Is Fortress Conservation African Wildlife's last hope?

 

Good fences make safe lions - Born free is good, but protected is better

 

Fencing Etosha to prevent poaching

 

Of lions dollars and fences

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Ok this is a tough one!!

I have been to Nairobi NP one time only that was 20 years ago so I am not qualified enough to speak about this NP but I can comment on if it would be viable and how to finance it.

 

 

I think that even if they fence this area it is still possible to get tourism here it is all in the marketing. For ex:
1. A luxury retreat for tourism and residents from Nairobi that wants to escape the city for some luxury and wildlife for some days. This would need really nice lodges/camps in the upper end of the market and Kenya need to look for investors.

 

 

2. A more open park (still fenced) but more open to people of Nairobi and school trips and so on, this I think need the government of Kenya to pay some to be able to have a park with easy acces so close to Nairobi but it would also give a lot to Nairobi as a city.

 

 

3. Sell it to a private investor that run the hole park

 

 

4. Keep it open and face all the problems that will bring but it is still a small park close to Nairobi so I do not think they will lose a lot of tourism because of fencing.

Just some thougts

 

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~ @@Game Warden

 

Would an uninterrupted perimeter fence enclosing Nairobi National Park have any adverse impact on larger species?

Would such a fence block their established territorial movements, or might those continue within the bounds of the park?

I don't know, which motivates my questions.

Tom K.

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Posted (edited)

In early 2009, I heard anecdotal reports that Wild Dogs had been seen around the southern end of Nairobi National Park. Naturally, I told my boss I wasn't going to work and headed straight there! We drove from Ongata Rongai along the dirt road along the outside of the Southern boundary of the park, past Masai Lodge and on towards Kitengela town at the other end. We stuck close to the park boundary, zig zagging a little along some of the small tracks. I was shocked at that time to see how much development there was along most of the length of that drive. There were patches of open land, but they most of them were already being staked out, and we could see plot boundary markers everywhere. There were roads, small-scale farms, residential houses, fenced off livestock land, and lots of open-pit rock mines, with a constant stream of lorries in and out ferrying the rocks towards Kitengela. There were people milling about, livestock, dogs, etc.

And yet, in the open areas, there was a huge density of wildlife enjoying the short grass outside the park, since the grass inside the park, where there was no livestock, was too long, hard, and unpalatable for most of the small and medium herbivores. Alas, we saw no wild dogs that day, but I was struck, and depressed by just how much development had appeared there seemingly without anyone really taking notice. If you drive a little further South, beyond Isinya (where Mohawk was shot), the land opens up again and you find huge ranches like the Hopcraft's Ranch and the expansive Athi-Kapiti Plains Ranch further south. Interspersed amongst these ranches are a few small townships and trading centres, but in general, there's a huge area of rolling black-cotton grassland South and South East of Nairobi. It's essentially an extension of the Amboseli ecosystem, which is why every once in a long while, elephants are seen not too far from Nairobi (granted this hasn't happened for about 5 or 6 years).

 

Concerned by all the development just outside the National Park, and being familiar with the conservancies in the Mara, Laikipia, and Ambosel (as mentioned by Jake GC above), I got in touch with a few people I knew who either live or work in that area to ask them why something similar could not be set up south of NNP. The response I got was that because there are so many different land users, land uses, economic classes, and ethnicities all mixed together in that area, getting everyone to come to a consensus about that vast area was near impossible. There are Kambas, Kikuyus, Luos, Maasai, Wahindi, Chinese, and "wazungu". There are affluent ranch-owners with tens of thousands of acres, there are poor farmers with 1/2 acre plots, there are landless Maasai who still believe they have the rights to that area despite having given it up years ago, there are open-pit mine owners/managers making a killing, there are medium income residential land-owners, there are traders, con-men, and prostitutes. It's absolutely NOT the same situation as Masai Mara, where former group-ranches were subdivided and new, all-maasai land-owners were given options immediately.

 

The big ranches don't want to open their fences to neighbouring areas and inadvertently allow opportunistic cattle owners onto their land. The small-holder farmers don't want to give up their only livelihoods. The mine owners won't let go of their now-completely-destroyed land until every last pebble has been removed. The home-owners won't move or take down their fences.

 

To be honest, I don't know what the solution is. I abhor the idea of fortress conservation, fencing off parks, keeping people out and wildlife in. Fortress conservation, and KWS's protectionist policies, excluding the surrounding communities is what got Kenya into the wildlife policy mess it's in right now. But at the same time, because we're so far gone down this road, maybe it's the ONLY way for places like Nairobi and Nakuru National Parks. If the game department and then KWS had actually thought about the surrounding communities for these parks years ago, they could have worked out a solution where both wildlife and people benefited.

 

My only hope for a not-completely-fenced Nairobi National Park is to create a fenced corridor, funneling the wildlife, out towards one or two of the big ranches to the South (similar to the "elephant underpass" created under the Timau-Isiolo road, connecting Mt Kenya NP to the rangelands in the North). Yet, for that to happen, there'd have to be some deal struck with said ranches. Generally, deals require money to change hands - and in the case of huge ranches like these, I doubt that money will be a small amount.
Here's where I see (unrealistic idealism here, but a guy can dream) the big animal welfare organizations (like IFAW) come in to put their money where their very loud mouths are to make "Payments For Ecosystem Services" to secure habitat for wildlife - to pay people on the ground to keep their land wildlife-friendly.

I may have said this elsewhere on ST (or maybe it was FB) - Wildlife economist Mike Norton Griffiths estimated way back in 1995 that if Kenya closed down all its National Parks, the ensuing take over by urban development, agriculture, livestock production, etc. would propel Kenya's economy (GDP) forward by 3% in a year!! That was in 1995. Now that other industries have overtaken tourism in Kenya’s economy and the government is basically subsidizing conservation operations “for posterity”, you can imagine how much the country’s economy would boom in the short term if all those hundreds of acres (in all the NP’s across the country) were suddenly converted to actually contribute to the economy. Tourism, no matter how much everyone in the industry shouts, is not a huge part of this economy anymore, and I can guarantee that Uhuru, Ruto, and their cronies are not focused on how to increase wildlife tourism in Kenya.

 

The ONLY thing that should be noted here is that IF someone were to pay for an economic valuation of ecosystem services of a park like Nairobi National Park, I could almost guarantee that the park’s hidden, unknown value would be placed so high that the government would have no choice but to put all measures in place to protect it.

Have a look at this economic valuation done on a particular area of rangeland in Jordan. The numbers are pretty huge when you read about the savings that the rangelands provide in terms of services (down to obscure things like “reducing run-off into dams” – meaning less money is required for cleaning those dams and putting in preventative measures, etc.).

I am convinced more than ever that habitat, and possibly wildlife (but that’s a touchy subject) needs to be viewed in economic terms. Most government policy is not based on sound scientific knowledge or understanding. It still hasn’t sunk in with some of our politicians that if you chop down a forest, the people living down the hill will have no water most of the year and then will be buried alive by landslides when it does rain. Recent developments in the Mau forest are a good example of that. You’d think that in 2016, we’d understand those basic concepts.

So rather than trying to explain ecology, the water cycle, carbon cycle, etc. to our money-minded politicians, the only way to get it across to them is to explain how much a piece of land is worth in its natural state (this, of course, requires them to think in the long term, which is not their strong suit, sadly).

If they can be convinced that Nairobi National Park is saving them vast amounts of money by providing certain services to the city and its surrounding areas, perhaps then – and only then- they might see what value it holds. Otherwise, it’s just a nice big flat place to build more city! MORE CITY! More development!!

 

I may have gone slightly off topic here….

Edited by armchair bushman
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@@Tom Kellie

 

 

Would an uninterrupted perimeter fence enclosing Nairobi National Park have any adverse impact on larger species?

Would such a fence block their established territorial movements, or might those continue within the bounds of the park?

My two cents:

What you would eventually see is a reduction in total populations of larger herbivores, who still make it habit (at the moment) of leaving the park in the wet season to graze elsewhere, coming back in the dry season when the sheep and goats have eaten all the grass outside the park. A fully fenced park would mean that less grass is available year round to the same number of animals. Nairobi National Park is a very small area, at only 117 KM squared. There really isn't much space to support the same numbers of wildlife if they're all immobile. Black Rhinos would be largely unaffected. White Rhinos would probably be affected a little, but I suspect that if there was any fear they weren't getting enough food, their diets would be supplemented (as many reserves in South Africa do).
You'd also, over time, begin to see a concentration of the gene pool. Lions and Rhinos especially would need to be changed around with another park (possibly Nakuru?) in order to stop the gene pool from becoming too incestuous.

On a related note, I have seen a couple of unconfirmed reports that KWS plans to translocate approximately half of the lions out of Nairobi National Park to other areas of Kenya. This is good news for those other areas which will get a new line of genes thrown in (assuming KWS does it sensitively and doesn't inadvertently end up killing a bunch of lions in artificially induced territorial battles - I wouldn't put it past them). The reports I see estimate NNP's lion population to be around 40 lions. I would put it closer to 25 or 30, but I cannot say for sure. A man by the name of David Mascall is probably the best person to ask about NNP's lions.

I doubt any of the lions in NNP consider the areas outside the NP as part of their normal territory. They will roam there when food in the park is scarce, when they get kicked out of a pride, when a storm hits and they get disoriented, when following cattle out of the park, etc. If you were to fence off the park completely, I doubt any of the lions' territory would be affected TOO much (I won't say it won't be affected at all). What will happen is that when food is scarce, they get kicked out of their pride, etc. they'll have nowhere to go.

 

There are no elephants in NNP, but I would eventually expect to see some changes to the vegetation as it gets over-utilized by the resident herbivores.

As an example, where there are elephants, the forests on the Aberdares are now shrinking because the entire park is completely fenced, meaning the elephants no longer spread out to surrounding areas. They now are focused on their immediate area, and as elephants do, knock down trees. So while Rhino Ark's intentions were admirable, the long-term effects aren't necessarily what everyone wants.

Again, no elephants in NNP, but that's an example of how vegetation can change when an ecosystem has no inlet or outlet for keystone species.

Again, I think I may have veered off from the main topic.

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@@armchair bushman With a fenced ecosystem are there enough water points in the dry season to support its wildlife concentrations?

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@@armchair bushman

 

I think you are very right when you say that we have to see and argue the economic terms of wild areas. I like to argue other values but the reality is whiteout wildlife getting a value in the eyes of governments and people there will be no wildlife!!

I don’t want to be fussy but there are no races along NNPs borders, if you don’t mean the animals? There are tribes and ethnical groups (o: Sorry I am a biologist and there are no human races if you don’t count the one that has dies out.

@@Game Warden

 

What if you can create water holes? Then the wildlife would be ok during the dry season, but still a fenced area needs a lot of work you need to feed water and cull the wildlife if you want a lot of wildlife in a fenced area it is no longer a NP it is a farm, Nothing wrong in that farms has its merits but the few wildlife areas left in Africa should continue to be wild and only as a last last resort be fenced. I saw somewhere someone said something about fencing Selous!!! If that happens I will take my business elsewhere!

 

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~ @@armchair bushman

 

Thank you so much for providing a nuanced answer.

What I take from your balanced comments is that how translocation, fencing and adequate forage needs are handled will require a high level of finesse.

Kenya has many worthy wildlife challenges for the most talented individuals working in the field.

We who are no more than transient visitors — though part of our hearts remain in Kenya — owe a large debt to those selfless, courageous individuals who are truly walking the walk, rather than merely talking the talk.

I count you and @@JakeGC among that number, and there are so many more. Their names might not make the headlines, but their prudent decisions may extend Nairobi National Park's mission into future decades.

Thank them and thank you for that.

Tom K.

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Posted (edited)

 

@@armchair bushman

I think you are very right when you say that we have to see and argue the economic terms of wild areas. I like to argue other values but the reality is whiteout wildlife getting a value in the eyes of governments and people there will be no wildlife!!

I don’t want to be fussy but there are no races along NNPs borders, if you don’t mean the animals? There are tribes and ethnical groups (o: Sorry I am a biologist and there are no human races if you don’t count the one that has dies out.

The reality is that the number of people who see wildlife and wildlife for its intrinsic value, and not for any economic value, is VERY small compared to the number of people who see wildlife as a nuisance, a danger, a killer, and the reserve of the foreign elite to enjoy. The government sees it as a nuisance that it has to keep bailing out every time it "gets out of control". So unless we're all making money off of it, or being shown how much money we're saving by having it around, it's just a drain on government resources. So yes, I think everyone in the conservation world needs to drop the "emotional touchy-feely" rhetoric and adopt a sane, measured, practical economic way of thinking. In a world of diminishing resources, poverty, greed, and money - wildlife can only see the light of day if given an economic value.

It's an ugly, dirty, shameful truth. But I believe it IS indeed the truth.

 

As far as "races" go. yes. Correct. I was referring to ethnicities. When I hear the word "racism" I know, biologically it is incorrect, but I suppose I have embraced it as a normal term in every day use.

Anyway, you're very correct. There are different ethnicities of people living in that area. Thanks for keeping us scientifically correct. :)

I have edited my first post to reflect this.

Edited by armchair bushman
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@@armchair bushman
Ha ha good, I understand you are from Kenya so you have more tribalism than we have in Tanzania, less wildlife and more terrorism (o;
If you ever want to move to Tanzania Karibo sana!


The economic aspect in wildlife conservation is important everywhere in the world. In Sweden when I worked with hunting and wildlife and wildlife farming it was the same, and regarding the predators especially, but in Sweden the hunters or actually hunters without a high regard for the law (poachers) not the government is one of the limiting factors. When an animal in the "hunters" eyes had a value both economic and from a hunting view the population increases. So if the local people gains meat, recreation in form of hunting, money from hunting tourism the wildlife will survive in Scandinavia. In Africa it is not so different but it is more money for a better life that matters more and more money to the governments treasure chest.

I think we are on the same page there even the same sentence.

I have no real experiance from NNP so it was nice to her more from someone with good knowledge.

If you decide against moving to Tanzania but at least visits and are in the vicinity of Iringa you are very welcome to stop by my local waterhole and I will buy you a beer and offer you a place to sleep.

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@@Tomas

Yes, it's a sad reality that tribe and tribalism plays a large role in Kenya's political and economic scene. There's a strong sense of "US vs THEM" among many people here. For all the short-comings of Nyerere's socialism, the one thing it did achieve was a sense of NATIONAL identity over tribal identity - which can only be seen as a wholly positive thing - especially when compared to how Kenya's tribal divisions have caused so much turmoil just across your borders.

 

I'm not giving up on Kenya just yet, but thanks for the offer! Iringa's a LONG way from home, but I will make it there one day and I'll take you up on that. I never turn down a free beer (cold or warm) :)

Cheers bud.

 

Good to read your comparisons with the hunting scene in Sweden, which I'm only vaguely familiar with through stories from my Swedish friends. Valuable comparison.

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@@armchair bushman How do you think a fully fenced NNP would impact tourism numbers to it, both from overseas visitors and local visitors?

 

And would fully fencing it encourage development on all sides up to its boundaries? Are there any areas where its overall size could be increased before encircling it?

 

@@Tomas Obviously wildlife does leave the park, in terms of grazers, and on my short visits I saw numerous water points, if there was a need for more artificially pumped waterholes etc., what would be the impact in the surrounding vegetation? Obviously it would never suffer as much as Hwange due to no elephants - perhaps there is not the need for more artificial water points?

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Also, as a general question to you as Safaritalk members, would fencing the park affect your willingness to visit and perhaps overnight?

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<insert "I'm just a newbie" disclaimer here>

 

As a relatively new fan of Nairobi National Park, I don't think fencing the park in would affect my willingness to revisit, unless I heard that it had seriously affected the quality of the game-viewing I experienced there, which, it sounds like from the comments above, it could. To the extent that fencing affects the migratory routes of certain animals, that's really a tough decision.

 

Would the possibility of incestuous breeding exist there even without the fence? Is there somewhere else near to NNP where the lions (or whatever other creature) could go to breed within another gene pool? It's not like lions leaving a pride in Naboisho and moving on to Ol Kinyei, the Reserve proper or OMC, really, is it? (That's an honest question, I don't know the answer).

 

I was incredibly struck by how many self-drive vehicles with locals we came across in our time in NNP (admittedly a day and a half, but still). This seemed to me to be a wonderful resource for school groups, families looking to get away in their own hometown, so to speak. It would be a shame to lose that.

 

I'm a bit confused by the conservancy idea being posed though. Is there enough undeveloped land abutting the park for conservancies to be established? It sounds like where the lions have been getting out is near enough to established residential areas and major roads that this isn't necessarily an option?

 

One thing that I can add that maybe no one here knows but there are collared lions within NNP and Anthony at Emakoko had access to a website to see where they'd been that morning. Granted, not all lions are collared but could it be a short term solution to do so and monitor their whereabouts more closely? Head them off before they get into trouble?

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Posted (edited)

@@Game Warden To be honest, I don’t think that fencing the park completely need affect visitor numbers at all. Most people aren’t aware of the current situation, so if the situation were to change ever so slightly, I don’t see it making too much of a difference. The only, longer term, way it would affect visitor numbers would be due to a reduction to wildlife numbers making it less value for money. If KWS goes ahead with this plan to translocate half the lions out of the park, this will already have some effect, I’m guessing. Still, where else can you see 14 rhinos, ostrich, lion, giraffe, all the plains-game you could want, and a huge multitude of bird species in one morning before an afternoon at the pub to watch the footy with a bunch of mates?

While I think that fully fencing the park wouldn’t necessarily “encourage” further development, I do think that it would accelerate a little as stakeholders would no longer have any motivation to make efforts to keep it a little open. More developers would look at that land as “safe” to build on.
I think there is still some areas to the South where the park could be increased before fully fencing it off. A legitimate survey would have to be done in-situ, however, and I'm sure money would have to be paid to land-owners to compensate for land lost.

Fencing the park would not affect my personal willingness to visit the park unless game-viewing and the ecological soundness of the park was adversely affected.

@@amybatt There are lions, leopards, cheetah, and plenty of plains-game out in the Athi Kapiti plains. Not in terribly high numbers, but yes, there is a larger gene pool out there which currently still mixes with the NNP pool. Also, yes, when a lion gets kicked out of a pride, or a female decides to leave, they often wander considerable distances to find new prides and/or territory. A lion from Ol Kinyei, might get overthrown by another lion, walk into Naboisho, find that all cubicles are taken, and head to OMC or the Reserve. It’s pretty common. Cheetahs, of course, are not territorial, and wander vast distances in a year. A cheetah seen in Naboisho in January might be seen in North Western Serengeti by April. Many plains-game species also wander far, as you know. When Nairobi was first being built, a wildebeest migration to rival the current Serengeti/Mara migration existed between what is now NNP and Amboseli.

Nairobi National Park IS a huge resource for Nairobians. It’s a great place for field trips for schools, family outings, friends day-out, picnics, sun-downers, a place for learning for budding safari guides, and wildlife management students, and wildlife clubs. It costs Kshs 500/- for a citizen to enter the park + whatever vehicle costs are incurred (depends on your individual arrangements). A beer at any local pub/beer garden generally costs Kshs 250/-. My thinking is, why not buy beer from the supermarket, put it in a cooler-box, head into the park, and have a sun-downer? Take a picnic lunch to the park instead of eating at that expensive restaurant. Take the kids for a morning out instead of playing on their iPads all day. You don’t need a big 4x4. You don’t need a package tour. You just need to go.
KWS even organizes shuttle buses from city centre twice a week for people who don’t have cars to go in and enjoy the park with a ranger/guide.

As for the conservancy idea: there still is a huge area of land to the south which is taken up by large cattle-ranches. We’re talking tens of thousands of acres. They’re privately owned, fenced, and the small area between them and the park is where the problem lies. Have a look on google earth. It’s BIG open grassland. The problems arise when you start trying to get all those different stakeholders to look at one unified vision, which at the moment, won’t bring them any extra income. There’s still more open, unfenced, unfarmed land south of Nairobi National Park than there is in the area around the elephant underpass north of Timau (I’ve mentioned it a couple times above).

Collaring lions is a good way to keep track of them, especially if you collar lionesses. Unfortunately, a radio telemetry collar, which requires you to be in range with a radio antenna to track, costs around USD $5000 and will generally only last between 6 – 18 months before the battery goes dead and you have to dart the lion again to remove it an install another. A GPS collar, which if obviously more desirable for MANY reasons, costs upwards of USD $15,000 each and its battery life isn’t much better. So initial cost and maintenance are an issue – but not an insurmountable issue. I personally think, however, that that money would be better spent on securing habitat. KWS reckons there around 40 lions in NNP. 40 x $15,000 = $600,000 (Kshs 60,000,000) - A pretty penny that would go a long way toward securing more habitat or fencing off a corridor to the nearby ranches.

 

I hope I’ve covered all points. I do not pretend to be an “expert” on this matter. I AM quite passionate about Nairobi National Park. It holds a very special place in my heart. I see a lot of uninformed nonsense on social media with everyone literally shouting out their disdain for KWS, shouting out their turn-key, single facet “solutions” to a multifaceted problem. I appreciate how the issue is being discussed in a civilized, measured, and lengthy manner here on ST. I only wish that someone in power could see this discussion.
I also see a LOT of people throwing Richard Leakey’s name around, demanding to know why his voice isn’t being heard, demanding his resignation, demanding to know what he thinks, demanding him to take action. It’s important to remember the following
1. Richard Leakey is the Chairman, not the director. He does not make day-to-day executive, unilateral decisions.
2. Richard Leakey is not God. He is not omnipotent and able to solve every crisis at the click of his fingers.

3. Richard Leakey is not infallible. Everyone seems to think he’s Kenya’s wildlife’s ONLY hope because of what he achieved in the 80’s and 90s at the helm of KWS. He makes mistakes. He has the potential to make bad decisions at times (I’m not pointing to any particular one, I’m just saying the potential is there). And there are many people in the conservation arena who do not agree with all of his policies or ways of thinking. He has historically been ambivalent, and even outright negative, about community participation in conservation – a point I personally take issue with.

4. Richard Leakey is basically a realist. While I don’t necessarily agree with him on all points, one thing he DOES get is that with Kenya’s exploding human population, a growing middle class, a development-focused economy, etc. there will be challenges to our traditional views of conservation. You can either fight a losing battle to hold on to that traditional view, or you can work to ensure that the development continues in the least destructive way. A good example of this is the SGR. There was never any point in fighting whether it should go cut into NNP a little. The real battle was ensuring that it is built in such a way as to minimize the disturbance to wildlife and the ecology of the park. Richard Leakey was instrumental in those discussions to ensure it cut into the park as little as possible, and that most of it would be raised above ground on ‘bridges’ so as not to disturb the ground below.
The idea that the bridges are there to “allow for migration routes” is absurd. The SGR will follow the Eastern boundary of the park. There are no animals migrating East. I believe KWS is being compensated (though probably not nearly enough) for the land lost to the Southern Bypass road and the SGR. I hope they can secure land beyond the current borders of the park to offset what they’re losing to these developments. I’m not holding my breath, though.
A few years ago former politician, John Keen, actually donated around 10 Km squared from the land he owned adjoining the park to increase the size of the park. If only there were more philanthropists like that!

I think I’m done. I’m probably rambling on.

Edited by armchair bushman
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~ @@armchair bushman

 

All of us in Safaritalk who love Kenya's people and wildlife are heavily indebted to you for your time, patience and sincerity in frequently preparing extensive posts concerning topics of interest.

The above is another such case. Thank you so much for taking time to lay out your understanding of the situation, both as to conservation issues and as to the local players.

I've only stayed in Nairobi National Park on three different safaris — twice at the Emakoko in 2015 and in 2016 at Porini's Nairobi Tented Camp.

From that very limited exposure, I've seen both how popular Nairobi National Park is with local families, and how fragile its continuance is, given several potentially volatile realities.

We can't directly compensate you for your yeoman's effort to describe disparate factors, but we may thank you and avail ourselves of your professional guiding services, whenever possible.

With Much Appreciation,

Tom K.

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Having visited NNP during my visit to Kenya in 2013 and spent time getting to know a little bit about it, (for some background topics, click here, here and here) my own opinion is that a visit to Kenya should include a trip to the park, whether staying in Nairobi itself or one of the accomodations inside/on the park boundaries. Ideally a day visit before the main safari starts, as one might be a little tired at the end of the trip and it's a wonderful introduction to your safari. Superb vistas and wildlife photography opportunities abound, and importantly with your visit, especially if going with a guide/driver you are bringing employment and funds to KWS and the park.

 

Every little counts and I think that in the case of NNP the all too oft used saying, Use it or lose it is very apt. The more people using it, visiting, making purchases at the entrance, staying in properties from which the park derives income and help conservation efforts etc., so the more funds come to KWS and help subsidise the park. IMHO It would be very detrimental if more and more dismiss the park because of the problems reported, (and tourism boycotts etc), and fewer international visitors could well affect its future.

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Ideally a day visit before the main safari starts, as one might be a little tired at the end of the trip

 

~ @@Game Warden

 

Both @@amybatt and I have intentionally scheduled a stay at the Emakoko at the conclusion of a lengthy safari, as it's such a wonderful way to relax and restore one's flagging energies.

The Emakoko staff, including @@Peter Muigai., are skilled at combining highly productive game drives with ample rest and a bit of welcome post-safari pampering.

They're flexible and able to take guests to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport with dispatch, due to their convenient location.

As yours truly is contemplating a third post-safari stay at the Emakoko — possibly in late July, 2016 — it seemed appropriate to mention the charms of a stay there after a safari.

My policy on Nairobi National Park since joining Safaritalk last year is that every Kenya safari will include a stay in Nairobi National Park, either at the Emakoko or at the delightful Nairobi Tented Camp.

Tom K.

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@@Tom Kellie Indeed, I spent a final day as well before flying out in the evening, but for some the desire to fly home might outweigh the need, (and perhaps cost) of another day in the park. Whichever though, a visit to NNP is a must for international visitors to Kenya.

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@@Game Warden Well said. The more people visit the park, the better off it'll be, in this case.

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For any capital city to have such a wildlife area so close is truly beneficiary, think not only on income from visitors, think of the PR for the city and for the country and the other benefits mentioned by @@armchair bushman

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@@Tom Kellie Indeed, I spent a final day as well before flying out in the evening, but for some the desire to fly home might outweigh the need, (and perhaps cost) of another day in the park. Whichever though, a visit to NNP is a must for international visitors to Kenya.

 

 

~ @@Game Warden

 

Yours truly stayed at the Nairobi Tented Camp upon arrival in Nairobi, prior to flying to Porini Lion.

Both before or after work well!

As you and @@armchair bushman have sagely pointed out, what's essential is to make Nairobi National Park a must-do on any safari in Kenya.

I've done so on my last three Kenya safaris and hope to continue doing so as early as late July of this year.

Nairobi National Park — what a great place to go!

Tom K.

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If they decide to fence the park, I will give you three guesses as to who the contractors will be ----- the Chinese! Hopefully not. Just train the KWS to shoot darts not bullets and if it has to be a bullet let it be only one.

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I see that a whole heap of people are up in arms about fencing the park.

 

I guess they must do what is best for the animals. It seems that fencing is then a no-brainer.

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Logistically, I was extremely surprised how well NNP worked out for me with my last safari. I arrived around noon on Wednesday and left at 8 p.m. for the airport on Thursday. This gave me time for two afternoon game drives and 3 visits at Sheldricks on Thursday (plus two lunches and dinners at Emakoko which were excellent!). I had no idea exactly how conveniently located I was to Sheldricks, so it is perfect for visitors who want to do something else besides game rides or relaxing at the lodge/camp (I'm assuming it would also be convenient to other sights out that way as well, which I did not partake of). I felt it was a great way to wrap up, as I wasn't totally out of safari and game drive mode, but it was my first 'real' shower in over a week and it was dipping my toe back into big city reality.

 

@@armchair bushman, thank you for your patience in educating me on NNP and its surrounds. I had no idea that there was still plains-land that the cats could still get to, or that there was a large chunk of land available for conservancy purposes. That is good to know. I think I made the leap that once the elephants' migratory route to Amboseli was gone, all the others' were too. What you say makes sense.

 

I so hope that they figure out a solution to this challenge. It would be unfortunate to lose such a gem.

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