It’s Monday and it is time for me to get back to work. For most in the United States, people will be off work today because it is a special federal holiday – Memorial Day. Memorial Day isn’t a time of celebration. It is a time for all of us to come together and remember the men and women that have died for our freedoms while serving in the country’s armed forces. The holiday happens every year on the very last Monday of May. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I hear “Happy Memorial Day.” It’s not a happy day although I am happy when I gather with my friends and family. May God Bless all of those men and women and their families that serve and that have sacrificed for our freedoms.
Well, back to my Monday as I’m still here in Nairobi Kenya for another full week. It’s not a holiday here… but, I didn’t have to be in the office until noon. What to do with my morning free time? How about wake up at 4:15a and squeeze in the Nairobi National Park before work?
That sounds like a plan to me… I’ll get sleep when I get back home to the states.
Nairobi National Park
I don’t know how anyone works around here? To have access to this park which is maybe 20-30 kilometers away is a thing of wonder.
I’m not going to post as many pictures or discuss as much because it is comparable to my visit to Lake Nakuru (see MySkills4Afrika – Journal 03). You can see all of my pictures and videos at: http://1drv.ms/1og5bK7. Select the “Location Specific” folder and then go to Kenya Nairobi National Park.
Nairobi National Park was established in 1946 and was Kenya’s first National Park. The park is about 118 square kilometers (45 square miles) and has a fence to separate it from Nairobi. There is an open section that does allow the animals to migrate to open space.
I was told that I was most lucky today. During my visit to Lake Nakuru, I did get to see 2 lions (sort of). They were resting behind a few shrubs under a tree and I could only see their chest and an occasional tail wag in the wind. Here, I got to see FIVE lions… the first lion I got to see (the king of the jungle) was walking across the flat part of the land. I was even able to capture a quick video where he is doing a vocal call.
Shortly after that, I got to see two more lions. These two lions were resting in the middle of the road and we had to navigate around them. Once the other two cars moved on, we stayed there for about 10 minutes just watching them. We were so close and it was very special. You are so close you just want to hop out the car and pet them… that would be the most foolish mistake I’m sure.
I also got to see two hyena’s and two baby cheetah’s (although I must have done something really foolish because I lost the video of the cheetah’s that I took. I chose to take a video because they were on the move and it was hard to capture a picture between all of the shrubs and grass).
And just in case you are possibly thinking this is a zoo, think again. We came across a number of zebras (there are a lot of zebras in this park… maybe thousands) and there was one that obviously avoided being a meal. If you look close, you will see this huge gash in his leg. I’m guessing it was 20 inches long and probably 8 inches deep. He also had another smaller gash on the opposite leg. He was lucky that day.
There is also a monument at the park and an ivory burning pit. The government on direction from the President of Kenya burned 12 tons of ivory on July 18, 1989 as a symbol that the poaching needs to stop. I tried to do a quick search and if the numbers are accurate, Ivory is going for $150 US per ounce. Remember that ivory is highly illegal; however, I am curious to know what the government gave up to ensure they make the point that poaching is illegal and you should not do it.
If I do my math correct, there are 32,000 ounces in a ton. So, the Kenya government burned 384,000 ounces of ivory worth about $57.6M US (or 5 billion Kenya shillings).
Bravo for the Kenya government. They could have sold that ivory but that would have only encourage more poaching.
In the 10 years preceding a decision in 1989 by CITES to ban international trade in African elephant ivory, the population of African elephants declined from 1.3 million to around 600,000. Source: Wikipedia
To learn more about the Nairobi National Park, visit their website.
Well, I guess I better get into the Microsoft Kenya office. I have a busy day meeting consumer resellers.
Thanks for reading.