Human Interest

Nairobi National Park turns 75 mired in challenges

By Pablo Moraga

Nairobi, Dec 15 (EFE).- From his SUV in Kenya’s Nairobi National Park, 52-year-old safari guide Siraj Khamis Miraj looks on as four lionesses slowly stretch and reluctantly get up to find shelter from the falling rain, as Mpakasi, one of the oldest male lions in the park, wakes up.

“There is no place like this. Where else can you see lions so close to a city?” Miraj tells Efe.

Nairobi is the only capital city in the world that has a national park within it, where all kinds of animals roam freely.

The Kenyan capital was founded 122 years ago during the colonial period under the British Empire.

Later on December 16, 1946, as the city was growing rapidly due to the rural exodus, the British colonial authorities created the national park to protect a part of the grasslands that surrounded it the capital.

Nairobi – now home to some five million people and the capital of one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies – has changed a lot in the past 75 years, but its national park remains a sanctuary for many globally threatened animal species, such as lions, Masai giraffes or black rhinos.

But this biodiversity is hanging by a thread.

NGOs such as the Wildlife Foundation or BirdLife International say wildlife in the park there is so threatened that the successes achieved over decades could soon be forgotten.

Patita Nkamunu, a program coordinator at the Wildlife Foundation, has a passion for nature. She considers protecting the Kenyan capital’s national park as a family affair.

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