Project Description

Fighting for Vultures at Hell’s Gate National Park

White backed and Rüppell’s Vulture © Shiv Kapila

Recent developments in Kenya’s National Parks are putting endangered species at grave risk. In December 2019, a 48-hour mega music festival was scheduled to take place at Hell’s Gate National Park on Valentines’ weekend. Numerous bird enthusiasts and experts requested WildlifeDirect to take action to save the only protected breeding colony of the critically endangered Ruppell’s Vulture. Despite all efforts to persuade the authorities to change the venue, we took the issue to the Environment and Land Court to stop the event.

On 12th February however, a Nakuru Law Court ruled against WildlifeDirect’s application for an injunction and the Koroga Festival was permitted to go ahead. In their presentation, lawyers for the Koroga Festival argued that it did not make sense to stop a huge festival because at risk were “just a few birds”. Despite the loss in the courts, the matter exploded on social media and Kenyans, including the entire tourism industry, and the Conservation Alliance of Kenya, supported WildlifeDirect’s actions creating national awareness about the plight of vultures and the degradation of our parks. “Success is not winning a court case. Success is thriving wildlife,” said Dr. Paula Kahumbu, Chief Executive Officer at WildlifeDirect who attended the court hearing.

The court case has exposed the enormous need for support for conservationists across the nation compelling WildlifeDirect to continue taking legal actions in the public interest and we are now launching an Environmental Justice Desk at our office to strategically support environmental advocacy and citizen action by providing legal support. This is to ensure Environmental and Wildlife compliance in Kenya. Read more here and support this initiative to enhance sustainable development in Kenya here.