Dispersal Area

 

By Will Knocker:

P1010010

For many years now, folks concerned with Nairobi National Park & it’s future have discussed the “migration” of wildlife in & out of the Park through “corridors” to a “conservation area” somewhere in the Kitengela. The fact is that NNP is now, to all intents & purposes, surrounded by the city & my purpose in this photo-essay is to show that this is the sad truth…

P10100121

The only area unfenced along the Southern boundary of the Park is in the Athi Basin, west of Athi River town, where a Block of the Park exists in fact ACROSS the Empakasi river. This Block adjoins an area called the Sheep & Goat land which is supposedly government land but is in fact occupied & grazed by the local Maasai.

P1010014

Brand new house & fence in this area, supposedly leased by the Wildlife Foundation as open rangeland suitable for wildlife.

P1010016

This area is vital for the Park’s population of Eastern White-Bearded wildebeest, of which about 250 individuals exist in the Park from an estimated population of 100,000 in the Athi Kapiti ecosystem a hundred years ago…. they give birth to their calves outside the Park.

P1010025

P1010017

The area, especially in the woodland within the Park, has been taken over by the dreaded invasive weed Parthenium.

P1010015

The boundary road along the edge of the Park.

P1010030

The Athi Plains were rich & very biodiverse, especially in species of large grazers. These are now confined to the Park.

P1010028

The Last Gnu? We’re nearly there….

P1010024

A vision of the Future: urbanization & a world in which wild grazers have been replaced by cattle.

P1010021

The Sheep & Goat Land today (all that is left of the ‘Dispersal Area’): homesteads, roads, ploughed areas, livestock, people, dogs,boda-bodas….is this really suitable for wildlife?

P1010013

This just about sums it up……

P1010019

The Park boundary….

P10100111

This image shows the extraordinary richness of the grasslands of the Athi-Kapiti ecosystem, if it were protected, as this is, by fencing, paradoxically death to the population of wild grazers which once made this area a second Serengeti.

The parcelling out of the plains continues apace: you can buy yours by looking for ‘Kitengela Plots for Sale’ in your paper today.

Luckily, we still have the whole 120 square kilometres of the Park without people, livestock  or fences as a last refuge .