Government efforts to conserve the Mau Forest received a major boost as Queen Elizabeth II offered her support through the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy (QCC) initiative.
The offer was confirmed in a letter from the Queen to President Uhuru Kenyatta, the Presidential Strategic Communications Unit (PSCU) revealed on Wednesday, January 22.
The QCC project, launched in 2015, is a network of forest conservation projects in various countries across the Commonwealth's 53 member nations.
Commonwealth member states were urged to contribute areas of indigenous forest to be preserved as a mark of the Queen's lifetime of service to the Commonwealth.
Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko welcomed the news as he noted the Mau eco-system's significance on the continent and the world at large.
“This is great news. The admission of MMF to the QCC is a clear confirmation by Her Majesty The Queen, of Mau’s importance as a vital ecological and biodiversity asset, not just for Kenya and the region, but for the whole world.
“The survival of the iconic Maasai Mara National Game Reserve as well as the entire Mara-Serengeti Ecosystem depends on the restoration & protection of Mau Forest,” he stated.
Conservation efforts in the Mau have in recent times been hindered by significant human activity that has seen forest cover continue to be depleted as well as political interference.
It is hoped that the admission of Mau into the QCC will accelerate efforts to fully revive the eco-system which also happens to be the country's most important water tower.
In total, the Mau forest covers an estimated 455,000 hectares of land.
It is made up of 22 forest blocks, 12 of which feed into major lakes including Africa's largest lake, Lake Victoria.
It is also expected that part of the QCC's support for conservation efforts will see communities in the Mau assisted to secure alternative livelihoods that don't threaten the eco-system's existence.
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