What Is Special About Kenya's Nairobi National Park?

A wild giraffe in the Nairobi National Park.
A wild giraffe in the Nairobi National Park.

Nairobi National Park is one of the many protected areas in Kenya. It was established in 1946 and is located 4 miles from Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. An electric fence separates the park from the metropolis, but the conflict between animals and humans continues to rise due to the shortage of resources. Despite its small size compared to other parks in the country, Nairobi National Park boasts of a diverse wildlife population that includes birds. The following are some unique features concerning the park.

Park In A Capital

Nairobi National Park is one of the few parks in the world that is located within a metropolis. It is located 4 miles from the capital, Nairobi. The park was established in 1964 at a time when animals outnumbered humans in the locality. Over time, the capital developed, and the conflict between humans and animals became more frequent and fatal. The authorities hived off part of the plains from the Southern Reserve, where hunting was illegal, but every other activity, including farming, was permitted.

First Park In Kenya

The Nairobi National Park was the first park to be established in Kenya despite its small size compared to other parks and reserves in the country. The plain was designated a park on December 16, 1946, to protect the land and animals from the encroaching human activities. Conservationist Mervyn Cowie advocated for the establishment of a protected park after returning to Kenya in 1932, to a decimated wildlife population.

Black Rhinoceros

Nairobi National Park is one of the best places to watch the black rhinoceros in the wild. It is a sanctuary that is used to restock other parks in the country and has helped Kenya restore the population of black rhinos from approximately 300 in the 1980s to more than 700. Rhinos thrive in the park because it is smaller and well protected from poachers. In 2018, the Wildlife Service moved eight black rhinos to the newly-established rhino sanctuary at the much larger Tsavo East National Park.

Four Of The Big Five

Four of the Big Five animals, the leopard, lion, rhinoceros, and Cape buffalo, are found at the Nairobi National Park. All the animals are original inhabitants of the park. Elephants are absent since they require extensive habitats that support a diverse variety of flora to provide food for their endless appetite. There has been increased conflict between animals and predators, especially lions that attack livestock from the neighboring Maasai communities.

Ivory Burning Site

Nairobi National Park is the site where the government of Kenya destroys tons of ivory and tusks. In 1989, Kenya’s president incinerated over 12 tons of ivory and tusks while in 2016, President Uhuru Kenyatta led the country in burning over 109 tons, the largest of its kind in the world. The consignment included ivory from more than 8,000 animals poached within and outside the country.

Mammals And Birds

The Nairobi National Park is home to a diverse population of animals, including more than 100 mammals and over 500 bird species. Mammal species include baboon, zebra, hippopotamus, lion, giraffe, cheetah, and the Cape buffalo, among others. There are more than 500 bird species, of which about 20 are migratory.


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