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Embu County to take over management of Mwea National Reserve

The County Government of Embu has commenced the process of taking over the management, conservation and sustainable utilization of Mwea National Game Reserve from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

The little-known game reserve located in Mbeere South Constituency measures 42 square kilometers and is home to a significant number of animals including Elephants, Zebras, Buffaloes, Gazelles and the rare Rothschild giraffe.

The reserve that has been in existence for over four decades but has remained unutilized in terms of being a tourist attraction or destination site.

“This is a sleeping giant that has the potential to transform the financial fortunes of the county and put it on the world map as a preferred tourist destination,” Deputy Governor (DG) Kinyua Mugo said.

Speaking when launching the planning committee that will oversee the takeover procedure as well as manage the reserve for the next ten years, the DG said once fully operational, the reserve will be a good source of revenue for the devolved unit as well as provide employment and income for locals and investors.

He said they will also look into ways of establishing hotels, lodges and camps that will contribute to local community development and also induce positive community attitudes towards wildlife conservation and tourism development.

Kinyua said they will also form a marketing board to market the reserve in a bid to transform it into an ultimate tourist destination.

KWS Senior Assistant Director in charge of Mountain Conservation Area Bakari Mungumi said through the newly constituted management team, they expect management of the resource will be much easier than has been before.

He said they will also be doing capacity building to the county in readiness to handing over management of the reserve where their role will henceforth be to maintain security.

“It is our aspiration that coming together and putting in place a good plan will see this reserve generate more value to the people of this area of Mbeere as well as the county,” he said.

Area MP Engineer Nebat Muriuki hailed the initiative, saying the revival of the game reserve will be of much economic value to the local community and the country as a whole.

He said once the reserve is developed fully and starts attracting tourists, the local community will start appreciating and valuing wild animals and stop seeing them as a threat to their lives, animals and crops.

“We welcome this venture because we know even our people will get a big market for their farm produce while others will get direct employment,” the MP said.

Miss Tourism Africa Muthoni Kariuki who hails from the area, said the revival of the reserve was a big win for the locals in improving their livelihoods.

The model and environmental activist called all stakeholders to take part in conservation efforts of the reserve through adoption of eco-friendly practices such as planting of trees and proper waste management.

By Samuel Waititu

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