NAIROBI PARK DIARY

Panthera Leo

Africa’s lion population has crashed dramatically in the last century from over 200,000 lions to less than 20,000 lions

In Summary

• Some 23 African countries have officially declaring lions to be locally extinct

Fantastic Mohawk Flehman
Fantastic Mohawk Flehman
Image: GARETH JONES

For thousands of years, lions (Pathera leo) have roamed the area we now call Nairobi. Humans have also co-existed with wildlife in this area for thousands of years. However, within the last 120 years, there have been dramatic changes due to rapid human developments. It was thanks to the efforts of people like Mervyn Cowie that the Nairobi National Park became the first national park to be gazetted in Kenya on December 16, 1946.

It is an amazing miracle that wildlife, including lions, have managed to survive for so long next to a growing, ever-expanding mega city. The Nairobi lions are, indeed, remarkable in that they live with so many millions of humans around them, and tourists come from all over the world just for a glimpse of the just over 30 lions that frequent the tiny 117 sq km park.

However, it is extremely alarming to note that Africa’s lion population has crashed dramatically in the last century from over 200,000 lions to less than 20,000 lions, with 23 African countries officially declaring lions to be locally extinct. In Kenya, a nation that is world famous for wildlife and particularly lions, the population has dropped below 2,000 lions.

However, there are pockets of protection in some national parks, where lions still thrive. It is interesting to note that the average density of lions in Kenya in protected areas is only one lion per 48sq km. So the Nairobi National Park has the highest lion density in Kenya, with over 30 lions in an area of only 117 sq km. Naturally, the lions do tend to move beyond the park boundaries at times.

The constant battle continues for the Nairobi lions to survive. We hope and pray that God will make a way where there sometimes seems no way for the Nairobi National Park to survive and thrive into the future.

 

The park is open daily from 06h00 to 19h00. For more information on the park, you can link to the following websites: www.kws.org or www.nairobigreenline.com or on Facebook – Nairobi National Park