Tags: Gerenuk, Grant's Gazelle, Hyrax, Jackal, Ostrich, Pangolin, Porcupine, Ratel, Serval, Thomson's Gazelle, Warthog, Zebra, Kenya, Kilimanjaro, East Africa, Community Training, Conservation Agriculture, Land-Use Planning
For many years, local Maasai communities, their livestock, and wildlife comfortably shared the open grasslands surrounding Nairobi National Park in Kenya. But, as competition for land and water increased, more farmers started selling off segments of their land for development. As crop farming and fenced-off plots have increased, the once-open landscape near Kenya’s capital has become increasingly fragmented. At the same time, population growth in Nairobi has put pressure on the Kaputiei Plains, with more people purchasing land and settling in the area. As a result, wildlife populations and the very survival of the park are in jeopardy.
Launched in 2008, the Kitengela Conservation Project aims to prevent further degradation of the region and to find solutions that allow the Maasai communities and wildlife to peacefully coexist. The program has so far supported the development of a land-use master plan that lays out community-driven guidelines on sustainable land use and natural resource management in the area. It has also recruited and trained field research assistants from the community to use Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment to map the migratory patterns of wildlife and worked with local landowners through the landowners' associations, women’s groups, and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) to enhance livestock production, strengthen market links, and rationalize land uses.
For more than 50 years, Nairobi National Park has served as a wildlife jewel and tourism hub—renowned for its commitment to conservation. The Kitengela Conservation Project envisions the park thriving for another 50 years and beyond.
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