Kora National Park
The Future and The Kora Project (rehabilitation and development of Kora National Park)
“Kora, so often overlooked and misrepresented, is well worth every effort to sustain it as a wild place in its own right and as a value added buffer to the Meru National Park. Tony Fitzjohn has the vision, the energy and the experience to put this together but he needs the support of all of us if success is to be assured.”
Dr Richard Leakey
Our return to Kora National Park (where Tony Fitzjohn worked with George Adamson for 18 years) has coincided with the political will in Kenya to rehabilitate this beautiful area and its wildlife.
In the last thirty years Kora has been devastated by uncontrolled grazing, poaching and deforestation for charcoal, but there is a new hope that the political will exists to reverse this decline as tourism, more and more, will concentrate on the north of Kenya. How we can contribute has been the subject of much negotiation but we have strong support in the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife which culminated in the Cabinet Secretary Hon. Najib Balala paying us a visit to George Adamson’s old camp, Kampi ya Simba in September. It was a great honour to welcome him there and discuss the future.
There are plans for an integrated Eastern Conservation Area, including the well-established Meru National Park, Kora National Park and Bisanadi National Reserve areas. It is exciting that Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) are looking at this more as a landscape project rather than a single site intervention. It has many similarities with the challenges we faced in Mkomazi.
We are in discussion with the KWS and a draft MOU is being negotiated. We have already done a huge amount of work in drawing up the framework management plan in consultation with KWS.
The endangered species programmes at which we now have formidable expertise will form part of these plans. In these early stages it is just the hard graft of getting the area back into shape so that vehicles and personnel can get around, aircraft can take off and land, and all parties surrounding the park can contribute to both its security and the security of the general area. We have to lay the foundations that are so crucial to the project and the animal programmes that will be established.
We are refurbishing the entire camp and camp fencing, as well as repairing all the systems (electrical systems, solar power, water systems and communication systems) which were in some state of disrepair. Moving and registering the Trust aircraft, tractor and trailer and one vehicle has been completed after some months.
We have also had visits from the Assistant Director Eastern Conservation Area and the Park wardens, meetings with local MPs and county governors, and discussions with the Director General of KWS, the Deputy Director of Parks and Reserves and trustees of KWS.
Education initiatives continue together with Trusts for African Schools (TAS) who came in to provide valuable educational work in the surrounding communities. This has also included the organisation of successful conservation days in local primary schools attended by the County Governors and famine relief distribution to three needy villages. The water windmill pump in Asako village continued to function but is now need of repair. Meetings were held with TAS and with KWS both in Nairobi and Kora. The Trust has recently assisted TAS with a fencing project for two secondary schools through the provision of school gates. TAS is currently supporting projects in seven schools around Kora National Park always in the company of Stephen Kameti whose role is to integrate TAS into the social and corporate responsibility of KWS.
The work of the Trust is entering a new and challenging phase which will draw on the achievements and experience of the past thirty years. It is hoped that we will still enjoy the help and support of the many friends who have joined us over this period.