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The Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forestry Keriako Tobiko led state agencies under his ministry in marking the 1st anniversary of the reclamation of the Maasai Mau forest on 31st October, 2020 at Senetwet Maasai Mau Forest (Block 65), Narok County where 110 hectares has been marked for rehabilitation.
In his remarks Chief Conservator of Forests, Mr. Julius Kamau reported that the reclamation of the Mau which began last year has resulted in the restoration of 12 rivers within the forest. The Maasai Mau forest block is one of 22 forest blocks of the Mau Forest Complex. It is the only forest block in the Mau forest complex managed by the County Government of Narok. With an approximate area of 45,800 hectares, the Maasai Mau is the most threatened forest block by the extensive impact of illegal settlements.
Maasai Mau forest block is a major water catchment area as well as an important biodiversity conservation area as it is home to over 393 plant species, 132 bird species, 49 mammal species, 10 reptiles and amphibians, and 368 spider species. The Mara-Serengeti ecosystem is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site as it hosts the eighth wonder of the world, the Wildebeest migration.
In his remarks KEFRI Board Chairman, Dr. Sammy Latema emphasized the importance of tree growing as opposed to just planting. He further reported that 7 blocks out of the 13 blocks that were planted in 2019 through the aerial seeding project are successful with 10% germination having taken place. He also announced that KEFRI is in talks with Narok County Government to set up a sub-center in the county.
CS Keriako Tobiko called upon the community to jealously safeguard the forest. “These forests belong to all Kenyans regardless of tribe or gender. We need to view rehabilitation and conservation as a personal initiative in order to ensure that we are leaving a clean and healthy environment for future generations,” he said.
KEFRI donated 6000 indigenous seedlings which were planted during the anniversary that had participation from Narok County Government, KFS, NEMA, NETFUND, KEFRI, Kenya Water Towers Agency (KWTA), National Environmental Complaints Committee (NECC), KENGEN and Ewaso Nyiro South Development Authority (ENSDA).