A Snake with Many Legs

A vision for the future

In the 17th Century a well known Kenyan prophetess predicted the coming of the railway. She called it a snake with many legs. In the USA American Indians predicted the coming of the Iron Snake. The building of the Trans Continental Railway  (TCR) brought enormous wealth (industrialisation) to some people but destroyed others. The new Standard Gauge (SG) Railway, a Kenyan flagship development project, (Vision 2030) symbolises the end of an era and the beginning of a new one, not only as a modern railway, but as a springboard for the inevitable industrialisation of Kenya.

This film will be an historical record for all time. We show parallel comparisons of the TCR to the new Kenyan railway, beneficial and undesirable. Economic growth, destruction of the American buffalo and the slaughter of Africa’s elephants. (buffalo skins and ivory carried out by trains.)

Passing through the two Tsavos this SG high speed railway could be seen by an uninformed public as an environmental disaster. But the plans that have been drawn up indicate that the Kenya Wildlife Service has instigated measures to safeguard the wildlife living alongside the railway. There is reason to believe that the damage will not be substantial in the long term. The power lines, pipelines, main roads and urban development that follow the railway are of more concern. They will have to be developed to satisfy economic development but without jeopardizing the ecological integrity of a very fragile natural environment.

Wildlife, a natural resource as valuable as any other at a national level, is more sustainable, than, say, mining. The value of everything in the natural lands under the control of the National Parks should not only be understood for their tourism value but holistically, including their habitat (water catchment areas) and genetic diversity values, assets belonging to the people of Kenya. (as guaranteed by the Constitution.)

Not only will this film record the three year construction period within the Tsavos, and how the wild animals adapt to this railway, as they have always done in the past, but it will have a much greater role. The railway is but one factor of industrialization that should raise the material standard of living of the Kenyan public. This may mean, in the future, more and more Kenyans will be able to afford to visit the National Parks. (creating domestic tourism. Why not?) Not only will they be able to afford this privilege but they will be keen to see the wild animals of their country, just because it gives them pleasure to do so. Surely that in itself will be the best guarantee for the future of wildlife in Kenya? That will be the main point of this film.

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