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Nairobi National Park Targeted

New highway plans shock Kenyan conservationists

Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN  Jun 10, 2011

(eTN) - No sooner had plans been revealed that the Kenya National Highways Authority had designs to build a road across the Nakuru National Park, one of the most visited parks in all of Kenya, did fresh news break that the same governmental body had targeted the Nairobi National Park, too, for a Southern Bypass around the city.

Sinister motives are now being suggested already, in fact, very much in line with a recent article published here about the enormous land pressures on the park when Nairobi, as is projected, reaches the 10 million inhabitant mark and the government in place then might just yield to inducements and demands to carve out land from the park, piece by piece, until nothing but a glorified open air zoo remains, if anything, in fact, at all.

Officials within the authority are now accused of conniving with land developers and long-term speculators, and also government officials needed today already to determine the future development plans for the country and able to create administrative facts on the ground leading to enormous, if not mindboggling, riches being misappropriated by those in the early know and able to get their hands on land options, if not title deeds outright.

Land use changes over the past decades have already substantially impacted on the free flow of migratory species, which in the past supported the introduction of fresh DNA into the animal populations resident in the park and what once used to be a wide corridor linking the national park area of today with locations as far away as Amboseli and the Chyulu Hills has today narrowed into literally nothingness, considering industrial, housing, and agricultural developments, which sprang up right inside the core area of the migratory routes, cutting off game from age-old, long-distance treks in search of pasture and for mating.

Nairobi National Park’s fencing was controversial among conservationists as it is, with some recognizing the importance of DNA exchange and promoting land purchases to keep a migratory corridor open, but at the same time, the fencing was also almost the only recipe for keeping the area’s integrity intact, as prior to this, visible demarcation by fence encroachment along the main Mombasa roads’ boundaries and from the Athi side was frequent and carried out with the impunity only politically protected individuals are able to wield and get away with.

It is, therefore, no surprise that the Friends of Nairobi National Park website has now raised the alarm over the latest assault planned on this unique piece of African wilderness real estate, the only one national park so close to a capital city anywhere in the world and for that reason both precious, as well as a natural target for developers, speak individuals with no scruples and ready to ruin our planet in the hope to catch a spaceship to a new planet they could then also set out to destroy, leaving the rest of humanity to struggle with the fallout of their environmental crimes and personal greed. I have taken the liberty to copy the map of the planned highway developments from the FoNNaP website and, in fact, encourage readers to join hands with FoNNaP to prevent this planned development as much as the one schemed up for the Nakuru National Park.

Considering the success of the campaign I managed to initiate through the exposure of the Tanzanian government’s plans in May last year to build a highway across the Serengeti – that "Stop the Serengeti Highway" movement now has over 41,000 members and multiple petition sites – FoNNaP can surely take some hope that not all is lost, as long as the conservation fraternity manages to gather support and bring about a global coalition to stop any further atrocities against nature being committed in the name of progress and development.

New highway plans shock Kenyan conservationists
Nairobi National Park / Image via

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