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Balala raises red flag over Lake Nakuru Park’s falling fortunes

Thursday April 25 2019

Tourists arrive at the Lake Nakuru National Park.

Tourists arrive at the Lake Nakuru National Park. Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has said that the once highly acclaimed wildlife refuge is fast losing its lustre. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

MACHARIA MWANGI
By MACHARIA MWANGI
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The dwindling fortunes of Lake Nakuru National Park has sparked alarm in the national government.

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala regretted that the once highly acclaimed wildlife refuge is fast losing its lustre.

He cited the dwindling number of flamingos and wild animals, more so the lions, that have in the past given the park international fame.

“To me, Lake Nakuru National Park is as good as dead… it is very sad. A number of trees have also withered,” said Mr Balala during an engagement forum with stakeholders at a Naivasha hotel Thursday.

He challenged Kenya Wildlife Service researchers to conduct a comprehensive study and offer solutions on how to improve the fortunes of the park.

He also challenged the Nakuru County government to ensure that raw sewage does not flow into the lake, saying he will work with his Environment counterpart to address the issue.

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DISAPPOINTING GAME DRIVE

“We shall hold talks with my counterpart in the Ministry of Environment over the issue of pollution in Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha and I promise stern action,” added the CS.

Mr Balala termed his game drive, in which he travelled for several kilometres without spotting any of the famous Big Five animals the park was known for, as a major disappointment.

“The park has been famous for its high number of flamingos but many of them have relocated to other places,” said the CS.

ARTIFICIAL WATERFALLS

The CS revealed that the national government will set aside Sh300 million to create artificial waterfalls in an effort to boost tourism, he said.

The forum was meant to explore tourism opportunities in Nakuru County and how to exploit them.

The event was organised by the hotel industry in the county.

Nakuru Deputy Governor Eric Korir said the county government is working to diversify tourism products and bring on board others such as the famous Subukia Catholic Shrine.

Mr Korir said they will propose to the national government how to address the sewer system in the town, citing the ballooning population.

Rift Valley Regional Commissioner Mongo Chimwaga said officials have increased surveillance at all major hotels in the county and called for a closer collaboration between investors and the government over the issue of security.