Daphne Sheldrick, the founder and chair of David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a non-profit organization, has told the President to stop the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway route through Nairobi National Park saying it “spells the end of this priceless city asset”.
In a letter addressed to President Uhuru, the British conservationist Daphne Sheldrick told the president that with time, national parks will play larger roles than expected in the health and well-being of the human population.
She mentioned that even though development is a priority to the people and political leaders, the construction of the SGR route through Nairobi National Park will interfere with the activities of tourists who flood into the country to “enjoy and appreciate Kenya’s wild places and wildlife”.
The letter reads:
Reconsider and dismiss any suggestion that will destroy this precious asset before it is too late, particularly as there are viable alternatives to this proposed route through the park,”.
The world, Kenya and future generations will be forever grateful to you, Mr President, for averting the destruction of this irreplaceable critical national asset which makes Nairobi especially unique.”
This is coming after President Uhuru announced incentives for tourists visiting Kenya in order to spice up tourism in Kenya.
Sheldrick further brought to the attention of the president that lung-related diseases which lead to death result from smog, which according to her will soon cloud the atmosphere and reduce visibility. She begs Uhuru not to allow the country to look like the Chinese city Beijing which has been hit by bouts of choking smog this winter.
I feel sure the current government does not want Kenya to be like Beijing,”
The park acts as the lungs of Nairobi, distilling its polluted air.”
The Kenya Wildlife Service and the National Lands Commission In July, 2015 allowed Kenya Railways to realign the railway into the park. The idea to shift the route, affecting 216 acres of park land, however was mooted by the commission after it was established there was no sufficient fund to repay high-value properties affected by the previous route.
The public overwhelmingly rejected the proposal to create the standard gauge railway cut through the Nairobi National Park, Karen and Dagoretti estates, insisting that the SGR will interfere with property in Karen and Dagoretti.
In point of fact, more than 4,000 people who spoke against the construction had signed an online petition to the President demanding that the realignment covering an 11.6-km stretch should be stopped.
Friends of Nairobi National Park and Wildlife Direct called for more information on the project saying there has been poor public participation and non-disclosure of information.