On the 28th September 2005, The President of Kenya, The Rt Hon Mwai Kibaki MP, asked the Minister for Tourism and Wildlife to publish a legal notice in the Kenya Gazettement Supplement No. 20, declaring that Amboseli National Park would henceforth become a National Reserve. This would mean that the management of the Park would be removed from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and placed in the care of Olkejiado County Council.
This change of status would also permit a wider range of human activities within the protected area that are not allowed in a National Park.
The reaction from wildlife experts including former director of KWS, Dr David Western, the East African Wild Life Society, Born Free Foundation and others has been one of dismay. The facts to consider:
1. That the change of status has been done in a manner which is illegal since it has not, as we understand it, conformed to the requirements of the Wildlife Act which would require that any such proposal should be only undertaken following consultation with relevant stakeholders such as KWS, a 60 day public comment period and ratification by the National Assembly. As far as we are aware, none of these provisions have been complied with.
2. Amboseli National Park is a UNESCO Man and the Biosphere site which should mean that it is accorded the highest possible national priority in terms of its conservation. Downgrading the Park's status to that of National Reserve is inconsistent with that obligation
3. Amboseli National Park last year generated approximately 240 million Kenyan Shillings (approximately 3.5 million US $) funds that would have been directed to the KWS and which would, in part, have been used to support other national parks that are less well known and less able to generate revenue. It seems almost certain that other parks will suffer following this withdrawal of income source.
What can we do about this?
A. A number of wildlife and conservation organisations both Kenyan and from around the world, have signed a full-page Open Letter to the President, published in the Daily Nation on Thursday 6th October 2005.
B. We are inviting the public to register their opposition to the downgrading of Amboseli National Park by voting below
C. We are further inviting the public to leave their email contacts on this site and to tick the "Keep me informed" box so that we can send email alerts to people as this extremely important campaign progresses.
Thank you for your concern and support.
Save Amboseli and visit http://www.saveamboseli.net