Don’t fence Nairobi National Park,urge residents

An elephant captured by KWS at Kitengela after maurading in the area for three days darted and taken back to Masai Mara. Picture/File

Our Reporter

Kitengela residents neighbouring the Nairobi National Park are opposed to the fencing of the sanctuary by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

The KWS has been planning to fence the park over the past three years and tarmac all roads inside to transform it into a zoo.

However, a section of Kitengela residents neighbouring the park have opposed the multi million project pegged on the National Wildlife Strategy and Tourism 2030 blueprint.

They claim that the plan is half baked, considering that the Nairobi National Park remains a seasonal migratory park.

Residents of Empakasi village and its environs  say they won’t allow communal land to be included in the plan because they have co-exited with the animals over the years, bearing the brunt of human wildlife conflict without compensation.

Empakasi Oolera Trust  chairman, James Turere, said KWS was forcing them to support the project without proper consultations with the hidden aim of locking them out from their ancestral land.

Empakasi Oolera Trust  chairman, James Turere

“Our boundaries with Nairobi National Park are well defined but KWS seems to be ungrateful by creating the jigsaw puzzle of including our ancestral land in the planned sanctuary,” said Turere.

He claimed that they graze sheep and goats on the more than 2,912 acres of the land targeted by KWS that is also the source of water to the community, with a primary school and residential homes.

The land is on Kajiado- Machakos counties boundary falling under Mavoko constituency jurisdiction though inhabited by the Maasai community.

Three meetings between KWS and locals are said to have aborted after the senior officers failed to convince the hostile representatives of the community.

During the launch of a KWS communal cattle dip at Empakasi village, on July 10th 2020, Mavoko MP Patrick Makau said the plan was orchestrated scheme by powerful people to grab the prime land.

The MP said herders neighbouring the park had in the past endured pain inflicted by wild animals without compensation.

Nairobi National Park senior warden Joseph Dacha explained to locals that  KWS  had begun consultations with their representatives.

He however maintained that the fencing of the park that was established as a National Park in 1996 will be beneficial to them and they will be allowed to access the fenced area.

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