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Picture of lions at a quarry in Nairobi National Park taken out of context

By Hillary Orinde | June 24th 2020

Social media users have been sharing a photograph online of four lions at a quarry inside the Nairobi National Park.

The photograph has been circulated thousands of times in multiple posts on Facebook, Twitter and messaging platform WhatsApp.

Users, including journalist James Smart, are implying that the lions are watching their habit destroyed to pave way for an express road next to the Standard Gauge Railway passing through Nairobi National Park.

"Saddest picture on the internet today," reads Smart’s caption of the post, adding that the road under construction was the Inland Container Depot Road.

Mr Smart, who has over 430,000 followers on Twitter, has seen his post retweeted nearly 6,800 times as at the time of publishing this story.

"Wrong context"

The picture, according to the photographer who took it Vishal Shikotra and the Kenya Wildlife Service, is being used of context.

Mr Shikotra told the Standard Digital Fact Check desk that the marram pit was from the excavation of soil to be used in repairing roads inside the park.

He added that once the excavation was complete, the area will become a watering hole for the animals.

Mr Shikotra also posted the same explanation on Instagram.


'People should not use my photos and post wrong information' #falseinformation 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. Kws do not bring in soil from outside the park. When this excavation is finished it will become a watering hole for the game and where lions love to lie on the mounds of earth ....as can be seen in this photo @kenyawildlifeservice @paula_kahumbu @fonnap_official @nairobi_national_park @smart_james

A post shared by vishal.s (@vishal.shikotra) on

His account matched that of the KWS who said the claim was "total misrepresentation of the facts."

KWS said a contractor was improving the road linking KWS headquarters to the Central Workshop inside the park and was scooping marram from a quarry near the Standard Gauge Railway.

"The contractor will rehabilitate the quarry pit after completing the works on the road in accordance with an Environmental Management Plan approved and availed to him by KWS management," the agency’s corporate communications office said.

The Inland Container Depot Road mentioned by Mr Smart is a 4.153km access road linking the Nairobi Inland Container Depot (ICD) to the Southern Bypass along the inner boundary of the Nairobi National Park.

Its starting point connects the west entrance of the ICD running through the inner boundary of the park and the end forming a partial pear-shaped interchange with the Southern bypass road.

This is an initiative of the Standard Group to combat fake news, misinformation and disinformation. If there’s something you want us to look into, email [email protected]

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