Wild animals losing freedom to roam as city encroaches on Nairobi park
By Katharine Houreld NAIROBI (Reuters) - Rhinos, lions, buffalo and leopards range against the background of a city skyline in the Nairobi National Park, Africa's only game reserve within a capital city.
By Katharine Houreld
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Rhinos, lions, buffalo and leopards range against the background of a city skyline in the Nairobi National Park, Africa's only game reserve within a capital city.
The park has been fenced in on three sides as the city mushroomed around it.
Outside its unfenced southern boundary, the banks of the Mochiriri River are a favoured refuge for breeding lions. Animals often pass through to make their way to larger parks beyond.
But the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has proposed a 10-year plan to fence land along the southern boundary to reduce conflict between people and animals.
The idea has many conservationists up in arms and a court hearing on the plan is scheduled on Wednesday.
"This is the lifeline of this park," said Reinhard Nyandire, a conservationist working with the Friends of Nairobi National Park, gesturing to the open pastures behind him.
"When they fence the park, you cut them (the animals) off," he said.
The volunteer group is dedicated to helping KWS keep the lands around the park open.
The KWS director general and spokesmen did not respond to requests to discuss the plan.
Commercial buildings are encroaching on the park's land and in 2018, a six-km railway bridge was built through it. Sewage from nearby settlements empties into the river, KWS reports say.
Animals often leave the park during the rainy season when the grass is too long to see predators and return during the dry season when the grass inside is more lush. The park also links up to migration corridors leading to larger parks.
The plan proposes fencing in land on the southern boundary if the owners are willing, or if they do not agree, to fence the park itself.
A 2016 KWS report said fencing was the "least suitable option" to reduce animal-human conflict. Shrinking ranges would cause conflict among rhinos and lions, other species could not migrate, and inbreeding would be a problem.
It is not the only option. The plan itself said conservation initiatives such as installing free motion-sensor lights to deter lions have already reduced human-animal conflict.
Nkamunu Patita, co-ordinator for the Naretunoi conservancy which borders the park, said many landowners do not want any fencing.
When Reuters visited Naretunoi, herds of zebras were resting there with fluffy babies, unsteady young giraffe grazed alongside their mothers, and ostrich and wildebeest roamed alongside Maasai cows.
Freedom to move across wide swathes of land benefits both wildlife and Maasai herders, she said.
"Their way of life is compatible with conservation," she said. "That's why you see zebras and cows grazing together."
(Editing by Angus MacSwan)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.