Kenya’s Nairobi Park revives

This video is called Nairobi National Park Is The Only Wilderness Area in a Nation’s Capital.

From Wildlife Extra, with photos there:

Nairobi National Park drought over – Wildlife thriving

02/02/2010 11:05:33

By Will Knocker of the Silole Sanctuary

February 2010. After a two year drought, The Nairobi National Park finally received some decent rain in December and early January and the effects have been dramatic. Before the rains came, every last blade of grass had been grazed to dust by the 6000 or so resident herbivores & a similar number of illegal cattle. However the surviving cattle have now moved away to grazing lands in Maasailand.

The Nairobi National is 120 kms2 teeming with game and contains almost everything you might see bigger more remote parks, except elephants. In fact it is the best place in Kenya, if not the whole of Africa, to see Black rhinos in the wild.

Seasonal wetlands provide excellent habitat for aquatic birds such as this Saddlebill stork.

All predators, including the Big Cats have done well during the drought, with virtually all wildlife in the Athi-Kapiti ecosystem north of the Namanga highway being contained in the park owing to the presence of water & grazing.

Bohor reedbuck are doing well (many of them are translocated from Western Kenya) & are easily visible in the new short grass.

Buffalos surprisingly survived the drought well: there are close to a thousand of these large bovines in the park now.

Kongoni (Coke’s hartebeest) are now confined to the park because of human activities in the dispersal area. They are increasing in numbers & provide food for the ever-hungry & ever increasing NNP lion population (which is estimated at between 35 & 40 individuals.)

Dikdik in the Silole Sanctuary abutting the park: I have never seen this species in the park itself. Could somebody suggest why this might be the case?

Southern White rhino continue to do well; we have 11 in the The Nairobi National Park.

I estimate that there are between 35 – 40 lions in NNP. They are all descended from the 7 that survived the drought of 2005 when so many were killed after cattle-killing outside the park.

This is way above the historical average of 30 lions established by the lion researcher Judith Rudnai in the 70’s & a reflection of the changing conditions in NNP during a prolonged dry cycle.

The NNP population of lions is very young, with all but 7 individuals being less than 5 years old & at least one more litter of young cubs recently observed.

February 2011: Just a year after relocating four Northern white rhinos from a zoo in the Czech Republic to Kenya, they are now mating: here.

While elephants may appear destructive when they pull down trees, tear up grasses or stir up soils, their impacts actually make space for the little guys: frogs and reptiles. The BBC reports that a new study in African Journal of Ecology finds that African bush elephants (Loxodonta Africana), facilitate herpetofauna (i.e. amphibians and reptiles) biodiversity when they act as ecosystem engineers: here.

South Africa: May 2011. The following images of leucistic buffalo calves were sent to us by Jim Thomson, owner of Jejane Private Nature Reserve near Hoedspruit. Amazingly, the buffalo herd on the reserve has produced not 1, but 2 leucistic calves this year: here.

4 thoughts on “Kenya’s Nairobi Park revives

  1. Uganda: Baby Obama Heralds Rhino Revival

    Halima Abdallah

    East African, 8 February 2010

    Nairobi — In June 2009, Uganda conservationists had reason to smile: They witnessed the birth of the first ever baby rhino in Uganda, 27 years after the last rhino was seen.

    The rhino was named Obama, a tribute to its shared birth heritage with the current leader of the Free World. Like US President Obama, the baby rhino has an American mother and a Kenyan father.

    The rhino’s father was brought in from Solio Ranch in Kenya in 2005, while its mother was donated the Disney Animal Kingdom.

    Four months later, another male rhino was born. It was named Augustus (“the respected one”).

    Ansburg Zoo of Germany, the major sponsor of the rhinos in 2009 at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary was honoured to name the male rhino.

    In January, another male rhino was born. It is yet to be named.

    The Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary officials said individuals or entities able to support conservation and breeding efforts will have to bid for the rights to name and adopt it.

    “Our project, now on phase two, is as successful as we would like it to be at this stage,” said Uganda Rhino Fund executive director Angie Genade.

    Compared to other East African nations, Uganda holds a very tiny population of Rhinos.

    However, this tale of intercontinent breeding illustrates the country’s growing need to diversify its offerings of game animals.

    Uganda has 11 rhinos compared with 930 in Kenya, 120 in Tanzania.

    While its two neighbours’ tourism is driven by big game comprising lions, cheetahs, leopards and elephants, Uganda’s tourism is driven mostly by gorillas.

    Sanctuary inhabitants

    The new births bring the number of rhinos at the sanctuary to 11.

    Taleo is the dominant male while Moja is second in command.

    There is also a female and male rhino at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre in Entebbe still struggling to breed since 2002 when they were brought in from Kenya.

    In 1978, the country had 200 rhinos but by 1982 poaching and insecurity clered them all. In Africa, there are only 15,000 of the animals left.

    The rest of the world’s rhinos are found in tropical Asia.

    Rhino populations are at risk from massive poaching for their horns, a kilo of which can fetch as much as $50,000 in the black market.

    The horns are reputed to cure disease and cast out evil spirits in children besides being regarded as a powerful aphrodisiac.

    The horns are also in demand for making handles for traditional Yemeni daggers.

    Today, the 70-square-kilometre Ziwa Rhino sanctuary is the only home to the wild rhinos in Uganda.

    The sanctuary’s long term goal is to build a sustainable rhino population and relocate them to their original habitat in Uganda’s protected areas.

    However, this will take many years to happen given the slow rate of rhinos’ reproduction.

    For instance, there is only one successful breeding in every four to five years yet it takes between seven to nine years before young ones begin to breed.

    The hope is that the six rhinos expected from South Africa in April or May, will be female to offset the gender imbalance currently at the sanctuary and enhance breeding.


  2. Pingback: Saddlebill storks in Kenya | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Kenyan boy saves lion, cattle lives | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Kenyan 9-year-old boy saves cattle, lions’ lives | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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