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Efforts to save Nairobi National Park gain momentum

Date Published: 13 May, 2010
Efforts to save Nairobi National Park gain momentum

Mrs. Abshiro Halake, Deputy Director Strategy and Change(left) and Mrs. Kentice Tikolo, Head of Corporate Communications plant a tree seedling during the Nairobi Greenline project launch at Nairobi National Park on February 18,2010.

Nairobi National Park is set to benefit from a number of initiatives being rolled out by various stakeholders.

Being the world’s only wildlife capital located only seven kilometres from the Nairobi City centre, the park and its delicate ecosystem has over the years been exposed to massive environmental risks due to human settlements and other activities.

Effluent discharged from surrounding areas into Park streams and water sources as well as land grabbing by developers have also been a challenge to the survival of the 64-year-old park which was the first one to be established in the country.

In an effort to curb this, the Kenya Association Manufacturers (KAM) in collaboration with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) recently launched the Nairobi GreenLine project that seeks to protect the park from pollution, encroachment and human wildlife conflict. 

The Sh35 million project aims at planting 250,000 trees from the park’s Cheetah Gate in Athi River to Carnivore Restaurant on Lang’ata Road and a 30-km long, 50-metre wide forest of indigenous trees shielding it from the fast-growing metropolis. An additional 750,000 trees will be planted in other greenlines over the next five years.

The money will be used to cover the cost of trenching, soil preparation, fencing, sinking boreholes, piping, planting tree nurseries, irrigation, seedling transportation and labour. An additional Sh5 million will also be needed annually to maintain and patrol the GreenLine.

The project is divided into four main sponsorship categories: Bronze Sponsor-Sh.125,000, Silver Sponsor -Sh250,000, Gold Sponsor -Sh500,000 and Platinum Sponsor- Sh1million.

Last month, KWS Director, Mr. Julius Kipng’etich, announced plans by the government to soon allow travellers on transit to visit the park as they await connection flights in an effort to boost its tourist numbers.

The arrangement would permit travellers to leave the airport make the visit and shop in Nairobi without being required to have a visa and would only need to deposit their passports at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

“This is aligned with the expansion of the airport. Travellers passing through JKIA will be allowed visa-free chance to visit Nairobi National Park and can go for safari or shop in the city,” Mr Kipng’etich said.

Tourism is one of the economic pillars of Kenya’s Vision 2030 and is expected to contribute to transforming the country into a middle-income country providing a high quality life to all citizens by 2030.

By Dennis Kibet

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