Friday, June 22

Eburu Forest, A New Frontier in Ecotourism

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Eburu Forest station which covers an area of about 8715.3 hectares is a key natural habitat to the Kenyan mountain bongo an endangered antelope sub -species that is endemic to the Aberdares, Mount Kenya, Cherengani Hills and Mau Forest Complex. The fencing of more than 50 kilometres of Eburu forest is a milestone towards conservation of this endangered species as this will reduce forest disturbance through unauthorized access by people and livestock in addition to poaching. Eburu is therefore key to the survival of the Kenyan mountain bongo.

The conservation of the forest has also attracted motor sports enthusiasts. The forest was used during the 65th KCB Safari Rally as one of the rally circuits. Other motor sports that take part in the forest include 4 by 4 motor challenges including the famous Rhino Charge.

Visitors to the forest have a major role to play in helping to consolidate and build upon these conservation gains. As a wilderness attraction, the Mau Eburu Forest clearly has great promise. With its stunning natural scenery and interesting and diverse wild fauna, the forest is a notable eco -tourism attraction. Eburu Forest has been designated as one of the forest parks identified in the KFS ecotourism development master plan because of its potential for recreation and its nearness to an urban area. Henceforth, infrastructure development such as roads within the forest will be prioritized to promote eco tourism development in the forest which boosts of natural attractions such as hot springs, rare birds and wildlife. KFS is working with the Community Forest Association (CFA) in Eburu Forest to help it develop ecotourism facilities in the forest which will help attract more visitors and thus improve their livelihood.

Kenya Forest Service (KFS) is highly appreciative of the immense contribution from various partners in conservation efforts of Mau Eburu Forest, which is now a sterling example of successful private public partnerships and community participation in forest conservation. KFS is dedicated to engaging private sector partners and communities as provided for by the law and sector regulations, to ensure proper conservation and management of forestry resources. The participation of private sector stakeholders in forests such as Karura, Aberdares, and Mt. Kenya has led to putting up and maintenance of electric fences and timber posts that secure these forest resources. Partners such as Rhino Ark Kenya Charitable Trust, Kenya Wildlife Service, M-PESA Foundation, and Finlays (now Flamingo) Horticulture have been instrumental in fundraising and promoting conservation of Mau Eburu Forest block, in collaboration with adjacent communities.

Anne Kaari is the Head of Corporate Communication at KFS


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