The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Nairobi Park Diary - the Unsung Dung Heroes

opinion

There are times when I slow down to look for the really small things. After crawling in my vehicle after a short while, my reward came in the form of some dung beetles rolling some dung.

When observing them, it is very interesting to see just how hard they work. So what is the big deal about dung beetles? What do they do?

Well apart from the immense good they do in the Nairobi National Park, let me take you on a brief journey to Australia to explain.

In the 1880's cattle were introduced to Australia. Some 80 years later, by 1960, there was a massive problem with cowdung causing fly infestation and large barren areas due to millions of hard cow dung patties.

From 1965 to 1985 nearly 200 different special bovine orientated species of dung beetles from South Africa, Kenya and Europe were successfully introduced.

The dung beetles aerated the soil and released nitrates in the dung plus broke up the dung patties. The result has been a much more fertile Australia with less flies.

So, how about slowing down and observing the smaller creations like dung beetles that have a purpose as God made them.

Insects are often seen as an irritation but the dung beetles are the unsung dung heroes as they humbly and tirelessly work to fertilise the soil as they lay their larvae eggs in the dung balls and beneath the ground. Plus we should thank them for largely reducing fly numbers.

Remember this, when we look for the smallest we also see the largest; from beetles to buffalos. Bring your family and come explore the wonders of the Nairobi National Park .

The park is open daily from 6am to 7pm.

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