An Open Letter to:
Mr. Kitili Mbathi, Director General
Kenya Wildlife Service
26 July 2016
Edward Loosli, Chairman
The Wildlife Foundation
The Wildlife Foundation is a registered Kenya Community Based Organisation/NGO founded in year 2000 to assist the Kenya Wildlife Service and others in conserving Kenya’s marvelous wildlife habitat, in both Protected and un-protected areas. To date, we have largely been concentrating our team efforts within Nairobi National Park and its vital wildlife dispersal area outside the open Southern boundary of the Park. In year 2003 there were only 7 adult lions left in the Nairobi National Park ecosystem, when we began to partner with KWS and the local pastoralists living in the NNP wildlife dispersal area. As a result of these co-operative efforts, there are now over 30 adult lions in the NNP ecosystem and NNP wildlife seemed secure. Unfortunately however, Nairobi National Park now faces one of the greatest threats in its entire history, at the hands of Kenya Railways.
It would be the height of illegality and irresponsibility to permit the proposed Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) Phase 2A to cut-through and further damage any more of the iconic and priceless Nairobi National Park.
As Director General of the Kenya Wildlife Service it is your sworn duty to uphold Kenya’s strict environmental and wildlife laws, as well as adhere to the protective terms of the Nairobi National Park Management Plan, none of which allow for the habitat destruction, pollution and chaos that would be brought about by the SGR (phase 2A) encroaching on or above Nairobi National Park. Alternatives exist for the SGR to go well South of Nairobi National Park before then turning West.
Kenya’s Vision 2030 calls for the protection and enhancement of Kenya’s national parks and other conservation areas, including Nairobi National Park, and even though it mentions the goal of building a new railway between Mombasa, Nairobi and the Kenya/Uganda border at Malaba, there is no mention in Vision 2030 of any railway, standard gauge or otherwise, traversing within or across Nairobi National Park.
By law, the habitat of Endangered rhinos and other rare wildlife species like African lions, giraffes, leopards, wildebeests, hippos, numerous bird species and many other species living within the Protected Area called Nairobi National Park is to be protected by the Government of Kenya in general and by the Kenya Wildlife Service in particular. Protecting and defending Nairobi National Park from environmentally destructive development like the Southern Bypass, Transmission Towers & Lines, and Railways is your responsibility. Before you arrived, the first two items, the Southern Bypass and the huge Transmission Towers & Lines were not blocked by KWS as they should have been. Now, you personally have the opportunity to do the right thing by blocking the SGR from encroaching further into, on, or above Nairobi National Park.
Signed, Edward Loosli
Chairman, The Wildlife Foundation