Sub-Saharan Africa

Maasai (Nairobi National Park, Kenya)

Background info
Located in Nairobi the National Park is indigenous land of the Maasai that they gave for the SOLE purpose of conservation as part of their culture to nurture the environment. This land is vital to the conservation of many species. Over the years it has been affected by the increase in population and changes in land use.
Due to the pressure the park has been under there has been a dramatic decrease in the different animals now found in the park. There are now problems with pipelines being built in and around the park which could be deadly. This is land that was supposed to be used for environmental protection as it is a carb skin but it is now in danger. This is still indigenous land that is under threat.
Read more background info by clicking the triangle
Nairobi National Park is a specially unique park in that it is the only natural park existing within a capital city with four of the big five animals. It is the oldest park in East and Central Africa (gazetted in 1946) and the only highly endangered black rhino sanctuary. It lies within the greater Athi Kapiti ecosystem/migration corridor (which used to host the more famous wildlife migration of zebras, wildebeest, and giraffes in the early 80s compared to the current Mara migration). With its size of 117KM sq. it depends(ed) heavily on this ecosystem which has, over the years, been fragmented by development activities, increase in population, and changes in land use resulting in the loss of the migration corridor between Nairobi National Park, the greater Athi Kaputiei third triangle into Amboseli. In addition to inserting more pressure on the park, the fragmentation, development, and changes in land use further led to a reduction in wildlife species. Nairobi National Park which used to host hundreds of Cheetah population currently has only one cheetah. We no longer see wild dogs in the park. Aardwolf is now a rare sight.
More recently the park experienced major infrastructural encroachments through the Southern Bypass, SGR Phase two, oil pipeline, and the inland Container Depot road all routed through the park. Due to these, we saw a heavy upsurge/resurgence of allelopathic invasive species specifically the highly noxious parthenium species invading the park. Another effect is the negative precedence already set where protected areas and other areas of ecological importance are now seen as idle land for developments and slowly losing the perspective of ecosystem services and values In 2018 however, the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife through the current Cabinet Secretary recorded a milestone success when they developed and launched Kenya's National Wildlife Strategy 2030.
The main objective and aim of this strategy was and still is to Maintain and Improve Habitat and Ecosystem Integrity to reduce biodiversity loss, protect ecosystem function, enhance connectivity, and increase resilience. Building a mega infrastructural facility such as the hotels, restaurants, and houses in the already suffocated park not only goes against the main objective of the National Strategy by further promoting heavy habitat loss and ecosystem degradation but will also affect the government's own efforts towards rhino conservation by destroying the forest areas which is the rhino breeding sites.
The destructive activities we currently experience in parks and protected areas begs the question of whether really government agencies mandated to protect and advise the executive arm of the government on conservation and protection of these areas are following due diligence in delivering their mandate. The leadership of KWS has lost its original authority over the past years and power for standing for what is right. The KWS good servants are so intimidated to even provide sufficient information or support towards genuine conservation efforts by other stakeholders. Centralization of operations at the headquarters has also undermined the authority and independence of senior officers managing these parks worsening the situation. The whole structure and system need a proper overhaul, complete independence, and decentralization of authority.
Parks and protected areas have been over-exploited due to so many intrinsic and extrinsic factors such as inter alia increase in changes in land use, climate change, and weak public sensitization on matters conservation. The main reason, however, is the weak institutional arrangement and legal frameworks. We have weak and conflicting policies on wildlife conservation and other sectors. From a National perspective, there is no deliberate move towards wildlife and environmental conservation in Kenya's development blueprint The Vision 2030 which is infrastructural development heavy. Some of the key development initiatives conflict the conservation efforts and conservation stakeholders are not effectively involved at that stage of decision making. Lack of a proper cross-sectoral and inter-government agency synergy towards conservation has promoted overexploitation of these spaces. Land use policy and physical planning act are strong legal guidelines that have failed to cushion these areas from encroachments and control the types of activities conducted within and at the boundary of parks and protected.
How can you help
Write an email to the KWS, the National Enviroment Authority, the secretary of Tourism detailing our concerns.
Below are tweets that you can use, click to tweet
After tweeting search hashtags #SaveNNP and retweet.
Make a placard with the words Save Nairobi National Park #SaveNNP and share it on social media, don’t forget the hashtag so that the campaign can then RT
Tweet storms
Who should you tweet at?
@tunajibu Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife
@foNNapKenya – Friends of Nairobi National Park – group fighting to save the park
@NemaKenya – tasked to deal with environmental permits
@StateHouseKenya – official handle for the Government of Kenya
Here are some click to tweets you can use!
1. @tunajibu @FoNNaPKenya @NemaKenya @kwskenya The
Nairobi National Park acts as a major carbon sink and is vital for the good health of Kenyan citizens as air pollution is a major cause of fatalities #SaveNNP
@tunajibu @FoNNaPKenya @NemaKenya @kwskenya The park
is home to 400+ species of birds and endangered black rhino and the maasai giraffe, it is vital that we protect this habitats #SaveNNP
3.
@tunajibu @FoNNaPKenya @NemaKenya @kwskenya having
canopy walks in the middle of wildlife habitat is outright dangerous for both people and wildlife #SaveNNP
4.
@tunajibu @FoNNaPKenya @NemaKenya @kwskenya Nairobi
National Park is indigenous land of the maasai that they gave for the sole
purpose of conservation as part of their culture to nurture the environment, we need to respect and preserve this #SaveNNP
5.
@tunajibu @FoNNaPKenya @NemaKenya @kwskenya there seems to be sinister motives in fragmenting the park so that it can be considered unviable lead to encroachment of protected land #SaveNNP
6.
@tunajibu @FoNNaPKenya @NemaKenya @kwskenya there is a need for a comprehensive EIA to be done as most of the implementations will be massive ecological disasters #SaveNNP
7.
@tunajibu @FoNNaPKenya @NemaKenya @kwskenya For tourism to thrive in any wild space there needs to be good wildlife and nature and therefore it is utmost important to protect the integrity and diversity of the natural being of the park. #SaveNNP
8.
@tunajibu @FoNNaPKenya @NemaKenya @kwskenya The assumption that pilot projects should be carried out in NNP is incorrect because this ecosystem is very small and sensitive, and therefore could have undesired effects which would hinder the
goals of NNP. #SaveNNP
@tunajibu @FoNNaPKenya @NemaKenya @kwskenya There has been very little focus on the mass public and on how Kenyans are able to access the park. The accessibility of the park to the normal Kenyan should be a top most priority. #SaveNNP
@tunajibu @FoNNaPKenya @NemaKenya @kwskenya The
Mbagathi river is a rhino and leopard territory and introducing human
activities will disrupt the ecology of this place and its endangered habitants
#SaveNNP
@tunajibu @FoNNaPKenya @NemaKenya @kwskenya having constructions
inside the park will encourage invasive species like parthenium to grow unabated and this will lead to the whole park becoming a green desert #SaveNNP
@tunajibu @FoNNaPKenya @NemaKenya @kwskenya construction inside the
park sets a dangerous precedent that our wildlife areas are up for grabs #SaveNNP
@tunajibu @FoNNaPKenya @NemaKenya @kwskenya weak and conflicting policies on wildlife conservation and other sectors has led to the exploitation of our nature, we ask the minister to formulate policies that favor conservation and communities. #SaveNNP
@tunajibu @FoNNaPKenya @NemaKenya @kwskenya Some of the key development initiatives conflict the conservation efforts and stakeholders are not effectively involved at that stage of decision making. #SaveNNP
@tunajibu @FoNNaPKenya @NemaKenya @kwskenya The destructive activities we currently experience in parks begs the question if government agencies are following due diligence in delivering their mandate. #SaveNNP
@tunajibu @FoNNaPKenya @NemaKenya @kwskenya Recent infrastructural encroachments through the Southern Bypass, SGR Phase two, oil pipeline, and the inland Container Depot road all routed through the park saw a heavy upsurge invasive species parthenium species invading the park #SaveNNP
@tunajibu @FoNNaPKenya @NemaKenya @kwskenya The KWS are intimidated to even provide sufficient information or support towards genuine conservation efforts by other stakeholders. #SaveNNP
@tunajibu @FoNNaPKenya @NemaKenya @kwskenya The key priority should focus on managing the natural park conditions to attract and keep more wildlife in the park, control invasive species, to keep wildlife inside in order to attract more tourists #SaveNNP
@tunajibu @FoNNaPKenya @NemaKenya @kwskenyaThe park is only 117KM sq. over the years, been fragmented by development activities and changes in land use resulting in the loss of the migration corridor between Nairobi National Park, the greater Athi Kaputiei third triangle into Amboseli. #SaveNNP
@tunajibu @FoNNaPKenya @NemaKenya @kwskenya Nairobi National Park which used to host hundreds of Cheetah population currently has only one cheetah. Wild dogs are never sighted. Aardwolf is now a rare sight. All this can be attributed to habitat loss #SaveNNP
@tunajibu @FoNNaPKenya @NemaKenya @kwskenya Building infrastructural facilities such as the hotels, restaurants, and houses in the already suffocated park goes against the main objective of the National Strategy by further promoting heavy habitat loss and ecosystem degradation #SaveNNP
@tunajibu @FoNNaPKenya @NemaKenya @kwskenyaBuilding infrastructural facilities will undermine the government's own efforts towards rhino conservation by destroying the forest areas which are rhino breeding sites. #SaveNNP
Letter to the Kenya Wildlife Service
You can also write a letter to the director general for KWS, email to director@kws.go.ke dgnema@nema.go.ke; Cs@tourism.go.ke; apollok@kws.go.ke
Brigadier (retired) John Migui Waweru
The Director General
Kenya Wildlife Service
P.O. Box 40241 - 00100
Nairobi Kenya
Dear Sir,
RE: COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE PROPOSED NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK MANAGEMENT PLAN 2020 – 2030
We write to you in regards to the above subject and would like to state from the onset that we do not believe this is the right time to be asking us (the stakeholders) for our views due to the current COVID-19 pandemic happening world wide. We request that you take this highly into consideration and will halt the process until normalcy returns.
We would also like to indicate that the time period provided for such public consultation is not as per stipulated in the constitution and therefore this again reaffirms our belief that this process needs to be halted.
It is also very important to note the following:
Documents relevant to this document which would help to make correct guided decisions are missing.
The history of how the park came to be is missing and we believe this is an important basis of any plans for this park and therefore this must be taken into consideration.
For tourism to thrive in any wild space there needs to be good wildlife and nature and therefore it is utmost important to protect the integrity and diversity of the natural being of the park. People come to Kenya for the wild spaces.
Tourism in Kenya is also over dependent on internationals and the adverse and negative effect to this has been noted in low season and also currently during this pandemic. There needs to be an overhaul in thinking and focus needs to be driven to attract the local public.
With NNP generating 400M annually it is ludacris to assume a figure of 12B is even possible in the next five years. Realistic targets as per data should be calculated. Calculating growth at 20% annually would still not lead to 1B.
No data or studies provided with the document regarding visitor flow or any other important relevant information. This data is very important for us all to make correct well guided decisions.
The assumption that pilot projects should be carried out in NNP is incorrect because this ecosystem is very small and sensitive, and therefore could have undesired effects which would hinder the goals of NNP. In fact only tried and tested processes should be implemented in this ecosystem. There are much larger ecosystems which can be trial areas.
There has been very little focus on the mass public and on how Kenyans can be able to access the park. With the new technologies available it is possible to send the views of the park to their homes. The accessibility of the park to the normal Kenyan should be a top most priority.
There has been very little focus on
education and research. The park should be made available to all universities teaching relevant degrees and to other institutions also.
There has been no focus on working with local artists to create works for NNP and for the general population (videos, documentaries, photographers, etc).
Many of these infrastructure proposals
will also be aesthetically unappealing in the park, despite its closeness to urban areas, NNP is relatively undeveloped and gives the feeling of being in a natural area with an urban wilderness feel.
The PROTECTION and POSTERITY of the natural integrity of the FLORA and FAUNA of Nairobi National Park is our FIRST PRIORITY and we cannot compromise this standpoint.
We have taken the short time that we had to come up with our comments in absolute brief as shown below and we request that all the stakeholders are consulted inclusively in the next stages of the management plan. We are prepared to participate, and to comment and help come up with new different options and strategies. Please find our most important comments below:
The plan should clearly state and implement the following: NO FURTHER PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT WILL TAKE PLACE IN NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK.
Fencing Phase I - From Pasha’s land to Masai Gate - It will be realistic to fence these sections of the park as it is densely populated and pose a risk for both residents of the area and wildlife. Those who may want to be fenced in and therefore, create a buffer zone should be allowed on conditions that they must abide by conservation rules and regulations.
Fencing Phase II - From Masai Gate to Emakoko Lodge - These sections of the park should not be fenced until more research of the viability of the dispersal corridors of wildlife is determined as recommended by Wildlife Corridors and Dispersal Areas Report.
Fencing Phase IV - Sheep and Goats Ranch - It may not be realistic to fence off the Naretunoi Conservancy as it is because the conservancy has potential to expand up to Sholinke. Does it mean the fence will be moved to include the additional members every time a new member signs up?
Data for the land to the South of park is missing and KWS is implying the corridors are blocked off. This data needs to be provided.
Implement the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) Environmental Management Plan - Kindly can we see this in more details. Painting is not a good solution and may in fact be a toxic problem. We need to do more research.
Develop closed system management guidelines - This action may not be necessary as the south west side of the park needs to remain open and unfenced to allow for dispersal of wildlife to the southern corridor of the park and into Naretunoi conservancy.
Establish a high end ecolodge - There is absolutely no need for this in NNP. This park is already sensitive to all current intrusions. There are also so many hotels in Nairobi and especially along Mombasa road which are not full and this makes no business sense nor ecological sense.
Develop the KWS Club House into a High-end restaurant (Orpul Place) - It would be nice to renovate the KWS club house to include a refurbished cost effective restaurant for visitors to have breakfast, lunches, and refreshments after game drives and with proper washroom facilities. However, it is unnecessary to have spas, swimming pools, splash luxury villas and gyms.
Design and establish adventure activity concessions, facilitate alternative activities to traditional game-viewing, designate and establish new campsites - NNP is firstly a conservation asset. It is needless to have other activities that disrupt wildlife habitats. The Mbagathi river is a rhino and leopard territory and introducing human activities will disrupt the ecology of this place and its habitants. There will be a lot of habitat and animal disturbance due to human activities resulting from establishing adventure activity concessions. We therefore do not recommend activities such as nature walk, zip linings.
Develop the Ivory burning memorial museum - elephant graveyard - this is an important part of the park and a valuable brand influencer because of the stand ‘worth more alive’ and therefore only a small informative area which is currently their is sufficient, and we suggest you incorporate a museum into the visitor center not so far. The visitor center can be visited by non park visitors also. The burnt ivory piles should be managed well.
Improve Impala Viewpoint - This site is a sensitive wildlife habitat and it is not acceptable to have 500 people and parties in this site. It is essential to reduce Carbon footprints as much as possible. The park is already facing ecological disruption threats of the city surrounding it. Impala viewpoint is also a place where lions pass, and a very quiet place to view much of the park. Upgrade of restrooms and seating area is all that is required.
Upgrade Mokoyiet picnic site view point - only the toilets and seating area should be upgraded.
Upgrade and expand Hippo Pools Picnic Site, nature trail and Cultural Centre - This is a good project to maintain a good relationship with the communities residing on the southern boundary of the park. However, the rehabilitation of the site should not go beyond the current designated area of the site. However, the community should be consulted as to their wishes. an amphitheatre should have low aesthetic impact.
Upgrade Kingfisher camping site - It is sensible to note that this has never been a camping site. It is a picnic site and no camping activities should ever be allowed on this site. Toilets need to be upgraded with water on site.
Develop Dam site viewpoints (Nagolomon, Athi Basin, Hyena) - These water bodies are too small and sensitive to have any anthropogenic activities near them. Viewpoint will disrupt the ecology of the dams and will interrupt wildlife.
Establish interpretive nature trails and short walks - A canopy walk could be interesting and therapeutic but can only be implemented at the hippo pools nature walk trail. We believe many hidden dangers of predators lurking in the grass and bush if implemented in other parts of the park, especially as the park is very small when compared to larger wilderness areas. We do not recommend nature walks around picnic sites.
The DGs Residence - the DG can be provided a high end spot anywhere around Karen and should not be thinking about such developments in the park.
We urge KWS and request them to understand our views and follow the guidelines stipulated in law that they must protect all areas of jurisdiction under them. May god give you the strength to make tough and well informed decisions that are for the general benefit of the Greater NNP Ecosystem.
We hope you will consider our request and hear from you soon, as Nairobi National Park is what defines us and how we treat it in terms of conserving it, will portray whether we are the true leaders of conservation.
Yours Sincerely
CC: Chairman of the Board, Kenya Wildlife Service.
Senior Warden Nairobi National Park
Conservation Alliance of Kenya
Apollo Kariuki NNP Core Planning Team

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