Kenya’s Nairobi National Park Under Siege

Animal welfare advocate/conservationist are gaining on a few fronts so it seems. In the U.S., Ringling Brothers Circus is closing due to poor ticket sales.  Young audiences prefer to have elephants, lions and the like left in natural habitat.  It’s good.  At some point in their lives, they will travel to Africa, stimulate the economy, and see animals in natural settings appropriate to the space needed to live well.

The jury is still out on Sea World, under similar pressure with shaky ticket sales revenue.  One of my financial advisory letters observed that now might be the time to invest in Sea World’s stock speculating on a dramatic comeback.  I’m not going to include it in my portfolio.  It’s too risky for my interests, and I don’t agree with the ethics/business model. Just my opinion.

In Kenya, like-minded people are arguing against government plans to build

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Red Line is proposed railway bisecting Nairobi National Park

the proposed elevated railway through Nairobi National Park.  I have been to the wildlife refuge several times when I was living in Nairobi. It is a remarkable place set aside and encouraged by Jomo Kenyatta, the first President of Kenya in the early 1960’s.  It is literally adjacent to Langata Road on the eastern side of the city.  It is remarkable to enter the park that is so close to the city and see rhinoceros, lions, ostrich, and a diverse abundance of Africa’s wildlife.  No elephants to speak of, but so much of everything else.  The presence of construction, bulldozers, trucks, noise and the lasting result of building a massive railway through the park will be devastating.

In Nairobi, advocates are speaking out.  They are taking the position that legendary Richard Leakey, the head of the park’s administration should step down because he is not protecting the public resource. Richard Leakey, now in his 80’s, is the son of the famous Louis Leakey.  In the past, Richard Leakey championed the establishment of Kenya Wildlife Service.  He has a reputation for effectively fighting corruption for decades.  Now he is being accused of supporting questionable government moves to grab park land so close to the city for alternative development and private enterprise.

Hurray for mediating structures and the efforts of brave souls in East Africa willing to speak out against officials that break promises and do not follow due process. My view is to support these people fighting to conserve the animals and the land necessary for their existence. Indeed, the land is necessary for the people as well as the animals. We need to support these organizations in the non-governmental sector.   Like my friends in Africa say, “We are better together”.

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