One of the crowning jewels of the city of Nairobi is the fact that it is the only capital city in the world with a national park. This isn’t really surprising seeing as most of Kenya was once the wild savannah but still, it’s pretty cool! Twenty minutes from home and I find myself surrounded by nature and wildlife. On my last visit to the park I was lucky enough to come across a lioness enjoying her early bird special.
She was devouring a buffalo all by herself which is surprising because there is no way that she took a whole buffalo down alone (and this has nothing to do with feminism). Lionesses never hunt alone and they therefore don’t eat alone. They also generally tend to stay clear of buffalo when easier game is available and I had seen plenty of gazelle casually roaming the park. I can only guess that because the lioness was in a thicket, the other members of the pride were resting, hidden, in the surrounding bushes. Still, it was a sight to behold. There is something quite rare and spectacular about watching a lioness eating and then glance in the distance and see skyscrapers.
As great as it is to have an animal reserve in the middle of the capital city, there are always issues that come with humans and wildlife living in such close proximity. For one, the city keeps expanding and pressing in on the park. So far, the government has done a pretty good job of making sure than the borders of the park are safeguarded from encroachment but when the new standard gauge railway tracks were being laid, it was decided that part of the train route would run through the park.
This of course is hardly ideal for the animals. The noise created by the train as well as accidents that will result from animals being caught out on the track are unfortunate. Construction of the railway line was also problematic as lions started leaving the park in search of…peace? It wasn’t clear why they were running away from the park during this period but they would be found roaming the nearby highways and neighbourhoods which was obviously quite terrifying for those who encountered them. Several lions lost their lives as a result which was deeply saddening, especially knowing that their numbers have been dropping dramatically and they are now facing extinction.