Sunday, 8 March 2015

Wildlife pushed back as city encroaches on Nairobi national park

Sunday 8 March 2015 09.59 GMT

The air is heavy with pollution, making the sun feel even hotter. Patricia Heather-Hayes, aka Trish, is watching a lioness through her binoculars as it dozes under an acacia tree in Nairobi national park. A dynamic woman in her sixties, she knows all the big cats by name: “That one’s Athi. She has three cubs.” Trish is also keeping an eye on some giraffes, antelopes and zebras, a little farther away, as they move across the savannah. The skyscrapers on the horizon make an unusual backdrop. But what she also notices, each time she tours the park, are the plastic bags, empty bottles and other forms of food packaging that have caught in the bushes or litter the side of the tracks.

This protected nature reserve, which extends over 117 sq km, is the only one in the world to be home to wild animals while being part of a capital city. But Nairobi is one of the fastest-growing metropolises in Africa, increasingly endangering the park in its midst.

“We find more and more waste, carried by the wind from homes nearby or dropped by visitors,” says this lawyer, who works for a local firm. “The other day I saw a snake die. It was trapped in a soda can and couldn’t get out.” Once a month she leads a big clean-up operation with other members of the Friends of Nairobi National Park (Fonnap), of which she is deputy-head. Armed with long barbecue tongs – to avoid getting out of the Jeep – Heather-Hayes deftly manoeuvres, avoiding the ruts but picking up all the rubbish. That day she filled five 50-litre bin liners.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You only need to enter your comment once! Comments will appear once they have been moderated. This is so as to stop the would-be comedian who has been spamming the comments here with inane and often offensive remarks. You know who you are!

Related Posts with Thumbnails