Railway line to be built through heart of Kenya’s Nairobi National Park

A $13.8bn railway project has been proposed in Kenya that will cut right through the middle of Nairobi National Park. Funded by Chinese state-owned China Road and Bridge Corporation, the railway will connect the capital city of Nairobi with the popular coastal tourist city of Mombasa. In response to the announcement, conservationist Richard Leakey, who is board chairman of the Kenyan Wildlife Service said “Ideally, there should be no transportation in a national park.”

Leakey, however, admitted that despite his objections, he felt it may still be necessary: “We cannot say to the people of Kenya ‘Oh the railway can’t come through Nairobi Park so you won’t have a railway for five years.’”

In Brief
  • The rail line will cross the park over a series of kilometre long bridges that provide an underpass for animals below.
  • Kenya Wildlife Service is negotiating to obtain funds from Kenya Railways (which will save money by sending the railway through the park rather than human settlements), which it says will be invested in a “transparent Wildlife Endowment Fund where only interest earned could be spent.”
  • However,  an environmental assessment of the project reported in May that: “The proposed realignment of the [railway] within the Nairobi National Park is likely to lead to increased trophy and bush meat poaching,”
In Depth
in the Future
Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smithhttp://www.jmcsmith.com
Jeremy Smith is the editor and co-founder of Travindy. He is a writer and communications consultant working for a more responsible and sustainable tourism industry. He is the author of two books, writes a fortnightly blog on responsible tourism for World Travel Market, and provides consultancy to a wide range of companies and organisations, ranging from National Parks to individual hotels and tour operators.

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