By Caroline Chebet, Giants Club African Conservation Fellow, The Standard.
Published 27 May 2019.
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) is taking measures to recover the fortunes of Lake Nakuru National Park that once raised Sh1 billion in revenues yearly.
The agency’s Director General John Waweru, while launching the Rapid Results Initiative, said the measures they were taking include upgrading infrastructure within the park and demolishing submerged structures.
Brigadier (rtd) Waweru said they would also improve quality of water, within the next 100 days, with a view to attracting flamingos back. He said the initiatives were aimed at attracting more visitors to the park.
The park’s revenues have sharply dropped over the past few years after disappearance of a huge population of flamingos, increasing water levels and poor waste management that has led to massive pollution.
“This initiative is the beginning of a journey to bring back the vibrancy of the park within the next 100 days. The park was at one time among the leading revenue earners, recording up to Sh1 billion per year. However, this has since dropped to about Sh500 million. The measures we are putting in place are meant to turn around the fortunes of the park,” Waweru said.
A weather station will also be installed in the park to help in measuring atmospheric conditions to provide information for weather forecasts and to study the weather and climate.
Some of the stakeholders, who attended the launch of the initiative, called for a waste management plan.
The population of flamingos, which were at some some point the key tourist attraction in the park, has been dwindling since 2009, from 1.3 million flamingos in 2008 to the current of 6,000.
“Veterinary officers will continue monitoring anthrax after a recent outbreak claimed 145 buffaloes. The park has about 4,100 buffaloes,” said Waweru.
Senior warden Catherine Wambani said visitors to the park have reduced from 250,000 in 2013 to 200,000 in 2018.
Governor Lee Kinyanjui said they would establish a Sh3.5 billion facility to separate sewage from storm water; so untreated waste does not flow into the park.
Read the full story here. This story is reproduced here as part of the Giants Club African Conservation Journalism Fellowships, a Space for Giants programme to expand the reach of conservation and environmental journalism in the four countries where we work.