Yesterday a leopard was photographed multiple times in Nairobi National Park. It’s been years since there has been such positive news about the wilderness park that lies immediately adjacent the mega-metropolis of Nairobi.
Is this positively Green, or is it just a temporary reflection of heavy rains?
This adds to the carnivore resurgence here. An estimated 35-40 lion have been found in the park recently.
The park is diligently surveyed by members of Richard Leakey’s Wildlife Direct organization.
These are environmental activists who live in Nairobi and have as much a stake in the health of the park as we do at home with our county reserves.
The actual park is pretty small, 46 sq. miles and is located only 4 miles from the city center! There are more than 100 species of mammals and 400 species of birds. But before you get too excited about reducing your time on safari, it’s often difficult to find much without a real park advocate/guide.
With little effort you’re likely to see buffalo, giraffe, hartebeest and impala. These are animals which don’t suffer from the bushmeat trade, because buffalo is too aggressive, giraffe is too hard to poach, people don’t like hartebeest, and impala is too quick and nimble and has a strong set of defensive horns.
The park is fenced on three sides and open to the Athi River wilderness, an area that still has a good number of pastoralists. Including this dispersal area, the animal numbers increase substantially and there is hope that one day they will be a regular attraction from the park tracks.
Rhinos are contained a patrolled and fenced area that you will see, and unfortunately, that’s how rhinos are viewed throughout East Africa today. (There are real efforts to nurture the few free-ranging ones in the Mara and the Serengeti, but that’s till an unfilled dream.)
The lion numbers have increased during this last period, first because of the drought and the fact that the wetlands and Langata Dam attracted herbivores. It’s uncertain this number will remain, but it’s a definite opportunity right now.
If you’re a birder, then the park is sure day trip winner. Patrick Lhoir and Brian Finch have been birding the park for years, and they report it better than ever!
I remember Kathleen and my first safari… in Nairobi National Park! I rented a car which promptly died about ten feet from a rhino. Up close and personal.
It is truly a phenomenon this park. The news is good, today. I hope it lasts.