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Mara may lose tourism appeal, cautions Nema

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 00:00 -- BY KIPLANG'AT KIRUI
The main gate to the African Asian Camp at the Maasai Mara that Maasai Mara Land owners federation  have demanded that it be demolished.PHOTO/KIPLANG'AT KIRUI.
The main gate to the African Asian Camp at the Maasai Mara that Maasai Mara Land owners federation have demanded that it be demolished.PHOTO/KIPLANG'AT KIRUI.

The National Environment Management Authority has warned that Masai Mara Game Reserve risks losing its status as a preferred tourist destination.

Nema director Godfrey Wahungu said the reserve is poorly managed by the Narok government. Wahungu called for a management plan to revamp the Masai Mara. He was speaking at the launch of a 10-year strategic management and development plan for the Mau Complex Water Tower.

Wahungu was with Kenya Water Towers Agency CEO Francis Nkako. “The Narok county government should work hand-in-hand with Nema to protect the reserve. It is under threat from haphazard development of tourist facilities, encroachment and settlements in wildlife habitat,” he said.

Wahungu said Nema is in talks with the Kajiado government and the Kenya Wildlife Service to develop and gazette a management plan for Amboseli National Park. “We have successfully completed the management plan for Amboseli. We are now working together with the Nakuru county government to formulate one for Lake Naivasha,” he said. Wahungu cautioned against depleting the Mau Forest.

He said Mau is the catchment area for the Mara- Serengeti ecosystem. “Mau Forest is an important resource that should not be interfered with,” Wahungu said. County communication manager Diana Daido said plans are underway to restore forest cover at Mau and the Masai Mara. “We will organise a forum that will involve all players before we formulate management plans,” she said.