Lake Nakuru National Park

The park was established in 1968, though since 1961, it had been a bird sanctuary on the southern part of the lake. With assistance from the World Wildlife Fund, the Kenyan government initiated a plan to purchase adjacent lands to expand this protected area. By 1964, the wildlife sanctuary encompassed the entire lake, whose surface area varies from 5 sq km to 40 sq km, along with a strip of shoreline. Since being designated a national park, the authorities, along with other conservation organizations, have successfully resisted human settlement and expanded the park to its current size.

In 1987, Nakuru National Park was established as a rhino sanctuary. At that time, there were only two resident black rhinos. An additional 16 rhinos were brought in from Solio Ranch, followed by four more from Nairobi National Park in 1990. The first two white rhinos were introduced from Lewa Downs, and a larger group of 10 rhinos was brought from South Africa in 1995. An electric fence was erected around the sanctuary to protect it from poachers. Today, the rhino population has significantly grown, and they can often be seen grazing around the lake’s clearings.

 Wildlife in Lake Nakuru National Park

In addition to rhinos, Lake Nakuru National Park supports a diverse array of mammals, totaling over 50 species. Among these are giraffes, Defassa waterbucks, buffalos, impalas, duikers, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles, klipspringers, plains zebras, reedbucks, elands, warthogs, and dik-diks. A small population of hippos resides on the northeastern side of the lake, known as Hippo Point, along with smaller herbivores like the rock hyrax and hares.

Primates in the park include baboons, black-and-white colobus monkeys, and vervet monkeys. The park also hosts a variety of predators, such as lions and leopards, the latter having been introduced from other areas and now frequently sighted. Other predators include hyenas, silver-backed jackals, civet cats, mongooses, African wild cats, and bat-eared foxes.

 Birdlife in Lake Nakuru National Park

The park is home to over 450 bird species, including flamingos and several fishing birds like African fish eagles, great white pelicans, and great cormorants that feed on the lake’s fish. The best time for bird watching is during the rainy season and the boreal winter, when a variety of European migratory species visit the lake. Other notable birds include the little grebe, African spoonbill, white-winged black tern, African snipe, avocet, African jacana, black-winged stilt, kingfishers, cattle egret, grey heron, great white egret, sandpipers, ducks, blacksmith plover, hammerkop, Egyptian goose, yellow-billed stork, sacred ibis, Hadada ibis, yellow-necked spurfowl, ostrich, tawny eagle, secretary bird, augur buzzard, mourning dove, marabou stork, martial eagle, drongo, Kori bustard, ground hornbill, fiscal shrike, European roller, bee-eaters, oxpeckers, guinea fowls, and starlings.

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