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30 Kilometer electrical fence at Maasai Mau forest now complete

The 30 Kilometer stretch of electrical fence installed to protect part of the Maasai Mau forest from further destruction has been completed.

Narok South Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) Felix Kisalu said the fence that stretches from Kibenet area to Triangle area has been installed with solar powered cables to protect any human being or animal from getting into the forest.

He spoke at Chebtet area in Sogoo ward where he led the security team and officers from the Kenya Water Towers Agency to inspect the fence that is also installed with Closed- Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras.

The DCC reported that the officials will conduct a five-day sensitization campaign in the area to inform the residents to stay at least three meters from the live fence to avoid being electrocuted.

“We advise the residents living around the forest land to protect their children and animals from getting near the live fence to avoid being electrocuted,” he said.

He reiterated that the government has contracted about 20 scouts who hail from the area, who will also help in sensitizing the community on the live fence as they protect the forest land.

“The youth under the Kazi Mtaani programme will also help in planting trees in the forest land as well as sensitizing residents to keep off from the electrical fence. In this area, we have 120 youths under the Kazi Mtaani programme in this region,” he continued.

The process of fencing part of the Maasai Mau forest began in January 2021 to allow the forest to regenerate naturally, free from any human interference.

At the same time, the DCC lauded residents for supporting the project and giving their input whenever they are asked to help.

“At first, the people were resistant. They did not want the forestland fenced because they had high hopes of going back to the forest land. However, after several sensitization forums, the residents living around the forest accepted and gave their input,” he said.

Maasai Mau, one of the 22 forest blocks forming the Mau Forest Complex, had been extensively impacted by illegal settlements, after ballooning of five adjacent group ranches during land sub-division.

In the year 2018, the government launched operations to evict people from the forest to reclaim the forest that was slowly diminishing.

During the first phase of the eviction in July 2018, about 7,700 people were evicted from the forestland which saw over 12,000 acres of the forest reclaimed.

In the second phase conducted in the year 2019, 3,300 families living in the Maasai Mau moved out voluntarily after the government gave a 60-day eviction notice recovering a total of 35, 000 acres of forest land.

Mau forest complex, the largest water catchment area in Kenya consists of 22 blocks covering more than 400,000 hectares and extends through several counties including Narok County.

By Ann Salaton

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