NAIROBI PARK DIARY

The green island

Without action, the priceless park will be reduced to a 'green island' in an ocean of development

In Summary

-Ancient migration routes have been severely throttled by ever-growing construction developments.

Wildebeest drinking
Wildebeest drinking
Image: GARETH JONES

For thousands of years, large herds of wildlife have migrated across the Athi-Kipiti plains. In recent years, the ancient migration routes have been severely throttled by the ever-growing construction developments.

Older photographs indicate that as little as 30 years ago, very large herds of consisting of many thousands of the sub species of Eastern white bearded wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus — albojubatus) and plains zebra migrated annually.

Developing a strong economy requires a good, effective and efficient transport network. However, development cannot take place at the expense of destroying or downgrading proclaimed priceless national parks, and not considering wildlife seasonal movement outside national parks and reserves.

The Nairobi Park is a priceless, God-given treasure that needs to be kept for future generations. The construction of a new, greater southern bypass, Mombasa-Nairobi Expressway will bypass the Nairobi to branch off just past Konza, then route past Isinya and Ngong to terminate onto the Nakuru highway in Kikuyu.

The Sh300 billion expressway to be built by American conglomerate Bechtel, is set to start any time after June 2019. Without a migration corridor, the Nairobi National Park will effectively just become “a green island in a sea of human development”. If this new southern bypass does allow for wildlife to move underneath then the ancient migration route is to become a thing of the past.

Without action, the priceless Nairobi National Park will be reduced to a mere fraction of a “green island” in an ocean of development. A priceless treasure is so valuable and unique and precious that no money or any item of value can replace it.

What if this was the year 2046, the 100th year of the Nairobi National Park? Would it be a moment of great celebration, or merely a sober moment of reflecting on the sad lost past? The actions of the present generation will decide on the future of the “green island” we call Nairobi National Park.