Protect forest at all cost, say
A conservation organisation has urged the Government to ignore
pressure from politicians on plans to rehabilitate the Mau Forest.
Joseph Terer, the Nile Basin Initiative projects manager in charge
of the Mara River Basin, said populist politics should not
override conservation issues. Terer said the depletion of Mau
Forest, a regional water tower, had over the years threatened the
existence of many rivers and streams in Kenya and Tanzania.
“Unchecked human activities, forest excision for human settlement,
and illegal logging in Mau threaten millions of aquatic lives,
wildlife, livestock, and human beings dependent on the rivers and
streams,” Terer said.
He said the Mau Forest was the main catchment for the Mara River,
which emptied its water into Lake Victoria.
“Mara River provides water for irrigation, livestock, domestic use,
and wildlife in Maasai Mara and Serengeti parks,” Terer said.
Migration of animals in the two game reserves, he said, had been
affected, a move that had negative effects on tourism.
He said there was need to demarcate water catchment areas to
protect streams and rivers from extinction, adding the forest was
a source of medicinal plants.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga has said the Government will not
relent in its efforts to conserve the Mau Forest.
More than 15,000 settlers in Narok South District will be ejected
from the forest by October, he said.
However, 10 Rift Valley MPs have rejected the move, saying the
residents will not move out unless the Government finds
alternative land for them.