News 2008


Protect forest at all cost, say experts


18. 07.2008

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.