(Nairobi National Park main gate at Langata)
The conservation fraternity had reason to celebrate this week when the park was expanded by 100 hectares or over 250 acres of land, courtesy of John Keen and his family, who through an easement gave Kenya Wildlife Service control to administer and manage their ancestral land as part of the national park.
Nairobi National Park has in past decades been more and more hemmed in with crucial migration routes across the Athi plains also being reduced and developed, leaving the crucially important DNA exchange through migratory arrivals to suffer.
The ceremony at Masai Lodge was attended by the Kean family, top staff of KWS including Chief Executive Dr. Julius Kipngetich, the President of the African Wildlife Foundation Dr. Helen Gichohi, the Director of USAID Mrs. Erna Kerst and a number of conservation supporters from various organizations.
While the Keen family will retain ownership over the land, the easement now restricts them contractually in their use of the land, so that wildlife conservation can be the number one priority and any agricultural, industrial or large scale domestic developments are now barred.
Similar schemes will, according to a KWS source, be pursued in and around Amboseli, Samburu, along the Kerio Valley NP, in the Tana Delta and on the Loita plains, where talks with landowners are already in progress.