Based on the tales we heard about Lake Nakuru, we anticipated to observe an ecosystem that faces a bleak future. However, our arrival at the park marked the onset of a narrative characterized with resilience and hope. Lake Nakuru Park of today is defined by incredible sceneries and diversity in terms of wildlife. The sights of beautiful gazelles, daring herds of buffaloes, and towering giraffes among many other wild creatures greeted us as we cruised around the park. Our excitement peaked when we met a pride of lions. Considering that very few groups of first timers ever get to see lions, we felt privileged and special. Of paramount importance to us as conservationists, was the fact that the water level in the lake was increasing due to conservation programs initiated in Kenya. But, something synonymous with this park was conspicuously missing i.e. the flamingos. The salinity of the lake has been diluted to the extent that it can’t support the production of algae that flamingos feed on. In addition to that, we noticed that water coming into the lake from different sources were sediment loaded due to poor farming practices upstream. Is the submergence of buildings on the shoreline attributed to water quantity increase or sediment deposition that pushes water over? Is the disappearance of flamingos a sign of ecosystem change? These questions lingered on our minds as we assessed whether Lake Nakuru is on the right path of regaining its lost glory.
By: Jason Were (MMASc in Global Health Systems in Africa Candidate); Rebecca Doyle (Collaborative Program in Global Health Systems Candidate) and Christine Imbenzi (BSc Masinde Muliro Univeristy, Kenya)