On Tuesday, June 23, a photo of a pride of lions watching a road excavation activity in Nairobi National Park went viral sparking outrage on social media.
The photo showed the lions resting on top of a heap of soil watching an ongoing activity with an excavator also spotted and a Standard Gauge Railway at the background.
Journalist James Smart who first shared the photo, said that the that the lions were watching their habitat being destroyed to pave way for the construction of an express road sparking outrage online.
“Lions at NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK watching destruction of their habitat to pave way for an EXPRESS ROAD. Saddest picture on the internet today,” Smart claimed.
The heated debate witnessed online forced the photographer who took the photo to come out and clarify the issue.
Through his Instagram page, Vishal Shikotra denied claims that a road is being constructed in the park saying that the lions were watching an ongoing road repair.
“People should not use my photos and post wrong information. Sadly this photograph is being branded about on twitter and other social media with people claiming that it is kws building a higway through the park! Please take note that this is totally untrue. This is the murram pits between no 7 and no 8 which is being excavated for road repairs of the park road as is usual,” he explained.
KWS, in a statement to newsrooms, termed these reports of road construction through the park as “not true, and a total misrepresentation of the facts.”
“KWS has recently noted reports appearing in social media platforms insinuating that there is a new express way road being built next to the SGR passing through Nairobi National Park,” read the statement.
“The correct position is that a local contractor engaged by KWS is improving the road joining KWS Headquarters to Central Workshop inside the Park.”
It further added:
“Currently, he is scooping murram from a quarry near the Standard Gauge Railway for use on the existing murram road.”
In 2017, a section of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) was routed through the park despite vehement protests from the conservation fraternity.
The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), however, gave a green-light for the project to proceed.
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