Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has handed over the title deed for 2,000 acres that was previously donated by a research agency to facilitate the expansion of Nairobi National Park, which is home to many iconic species.
Granting the park legal ownership of the donated land will ensure there is adequate space for wildlife amid threats like shrinking habitat, poaching and climatic shocks, Kenyatta said.
“Giving the title deed to Nairobi National Park enables the park to secure the much-needed space for wildlife and is a clear testimony of Kenya’s commitment to wildlife conservation,” he said on Tuesday evening.
“We must secure more space for wildlife habitat for posterity,” Kenyatta added.
The government on Sept. 25 announced it had hived off 2,000 acres of land from Sheep and Goat Research Facility and transferred it to Nairobi National Park.
The additional land will provide a corridor to ease the movement of iconic land mammals like elephants, rhinos and buffaloes, said Najib Balala, cabinet secretary for tourism and wildlife, on Wednesday.
“The donated land will ensure that our unique biodiversity thrives for posterity. It will also be an essential wildlife corridor for the animal population in Nairobi National Park,” he said.
The government is in the process of acquiring 1,500 acres of land to extend the park northwards, Balala said.
The Nairobi National Park, located on the southeastern edges of the Kenyan capital, will enlarge from its current 29,000 to 31,000 acres upon formal acquisition of 2,000 acres donated by the research agency.
The park is expected to have a total of 47,000 acres earmarked as dispersal area for wildlife once it acquires legal ownership of land donated in September by International Livestock Research Institute and Swara Plains Conservancy.
It is hoped that expanded space at the national park will help reduce human-wildlife conflicts, avert habitat degradation and enhance climate resilience for iconic species.