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.
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“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.
Lions at NAIROBI NATIONAL PARK watching destruction of their habitat to pave way for an EXPRESS ROAD. Saddest picture on the internet today. pic.twitter.com/KvGE075f2M
— James Smart (@jamessmat) June 23, 2020
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.
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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.
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.
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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.
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