In a meeting this weekend with the warden of Nairobi National Park, Mr. Michael Wanjau of KWS and some other government officials as well as residents of the area, it was revealed that tens of thousands of cattle are grazing in the Nairobi National Park as a result of the ongoing devastating drought.
Mr Wanjau admitted that the numbers of cattle in the park has reached record levels. So weak from walking hundreds of kilometers in search of grazing, many do not make it.
Some herders are cutting the fence of the park to let cattle in. Some are being herded across rivers.
The southern part of Nairobi park is littered with cattle carcasses and vultures, hyenas and lions have eaten their fill.
Out on the staging grounds in Kitengela adjacent to the park where cattle are gathering, hundreds are dying and nobody is removing carcasses. The Kenya Meat Commission tried to buy up the herds for Ksh 8,000 per cow (about 100$) but herders have refused to sell, they say they are hoping for rain.
Some dead and dying cattle are being butchred on the roadsides which poses a horrific public health situation. The Ministry of Health is being informed as I write this blog post.
Many cows affected by foot and mouth disease simply cannot walk anymore like this calf. She lay down by one of the entrances to KWS and just died right there. It broke my heart that no one would touch her or put her out of her misery for fear of whatever disease she was suffering from.
The meeting on Saturday felt that the situation is a crisis and are demanding that the governmetn conduct compulsoray purchase of cattle to avert a public health and environmental disaster. But it is being whispered that these cattle are owned by rich and powerful Kenyans, a challenge that few Kenyans are willing to take head on.