Nairobi National Park (NNP), the first born in Kenya’s national park system is set to mark its 75th anniversary on December 16, 2021. The Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife, Hon. Najib Balala today (November, 17, 2021) kicked off activities lined up ahead of the anniversary next month.
Nairobi National Park was established on 16th December 1946 to conserve and protect wildlife that was under great threat from hunting exploits by traders, prospectors, and pioneer-settlers in Kenya which was then a British colony. Mervyn Cowie, a conservationist is credited for creating the park and pioneering the national park system in Kenya.
Speaking at KWS headquarters where he briefed the media on plans for the anniversary, Hon. Balala said the event will be a celebration of the milestones achieved in the last seven decades of the park’s conservation journey. “As a country, we are proud to have such an attractive wildlife habitat located a few kilometres from the capital city’s Central Business District”, said Balala adding ,“ Obviously, it is no mean achievement to maintain and sustain such a critical facility located in a vibrant capital city and regional hub with so many competing land uses and economic interests”.
The Cabinet Secretary noted that the park’s location next to a fast growing capital city has brought unique challenges which the government is well aware of and is committed to tackling them as is humanly possible. He expressed gratitude to the national government for surrendering 2,000 acres of what used to be Sheep and Goats Research Facility to Nairobi National park.
This means that Nairobi National Park has enlarged from its initial 29,000 acres to 31,000 acres under Kenya Wildlife Service protection. The research facility located on the southern side of Nairobi National Park has provided a wildlife corridor to inter-connect Nairobi National Park, Swara and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) conservancies, in Machakos County, and beyond. “This additional wildlife space is a major boost to the park having lost some land to the recent transport infrastructure projects”, said the CS.
The Cabinet Secretary announced a raft of activities and offers to be extended to segments of the society to celebrate the park’s 75th birthday. They include:
Free entry for senior citizens aged 75 years and above accompanied by one person of their choice, and a vehicle up to 25th of December this year.
Free entry for registered People With Disabilities and young ones from childrens’ homes to Nairobi Safari Walk and Orphanage for one month effective November 25, 2021
Free entry for the first 75 visitors to Nairobi National Park on 16th December 2021.
Speaking during the same occasion, KWS Director General Brigadier (Rtd) John Waweru said Nairobi National Park has withstood a number of socio-economic and ecological pressures to preserve its biodiversity integrity and set the pace locally and internationally, noting “Nairobi Park hosts more than 100 mammals and 400 bird species, as well as a wonderful array of environmental biodiversity such as plains, forests, tree-lined watercourses and deep rocky gorges”.
The DG said KWS has developed the Nairobi National Park Management Plan of 2020 that guides the park managers so that there is no more emergency improvisations used in conservation. He cited the launch of Dignity Housing Project in March this year, as a major boost for the Rhino Monitoring and Protection Unit.