The Kenyan Government has awarded a title deed to Nairobi National Park for the 2000 acres Government land that was formerly known as Sheep and Goat Research Facility.
The facility adjacent to the park was awarded by President Uhuru Kenyatta at a ceremony at the Kenyatta International Convention Center Tuesday.
In a press release by the Ministry of Tourism Wednesday, the formal acquisition of the title deed for the extra land means that Nairobi National Park will enlarge from its current 29,000 acres to 31,000 acres under Kenya Wildlife Service protection.
The Research Facility is located on the southern side of Nairobi National Park and will provide a wildlife corridor to inter-connect Nairobi National Park, Swara and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) conservancies, in Machakos County and beyond.
In September this year, ILRI and Swara Plains Conservancy declared 32,000 and 15,000 acres of land respectively for wildlife conservation in Machakos County meaning that the Park will have 47,000 acres available as dispersal area for wildlife.
Nairobi National Park is the only park in the world within a Metropolitan area. However, it faces threats due to the numerous infrastructure development brought by human settlements adjacent to the park.
Due to reduced space for wildlife in the park, several animal species occasionally move out of the park to the adjacent communities in search of forage and water.
In the process, it leads to human-wildlife conflicts outside the park and therefore the Sheep and Goat Research Facility will provide additional habitat to wildlife resulting in reduced conflicts between wildlife and people, the statement says.
Wildlife corridors are important for maintaining the viability of isolated wildlife populations (genetic connectivity) and conserving ecosystem processes (ecological connectivity) for balancing environmental conservation and human development needs.
They also help to prevent habitat degradation by confined wildlife.
Migration and connectivity corridors are also often central to climate change adaptation strategies by providing options for shifts in wildlife ranges thereby mitigating habitat fragmentation, degradation and associated impacts on biodiversity.
“Giving the title deed to Nairobi National Park enables the Park to secure the much-needed space for wildlife and is a clear testimony of Kenya’s commitment to wildlife conservation. We must secure more space for wildlife habitat for posterity” the President said.
By Wangari Ndirangu