US to help fund restoration of river basin around Serengeti, Masai Mara PAs

The United States has stepped in to finance efforts to save one of East Africa’s most prized ecosystems, the Mara River basin, which spans Kenya and Tanzania.

The $3 million three-year program is financed by the United States Agency for International Development in partnership with the East African Community, a regional intergovernmental organization linking Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.

The program aims to restore and protect the Mara River basin’s rich biodiversity — a key component of the tourism industry on which several countries in the region depend.

“We have all made a contribution to the environmental degradation and now all of us have to do something about it”, said Dr Julius Rotich, the E.A.C.’s deputy secretary general, in a statement.

Central to the survival of the area is the flow of the Mara River, with headwaters in the Mau forest, an area facing extreme environmental issues from drought, deforestation and civil conflict.

“You don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to convince the people about the environmental devastation that is being experienced,” said Dr. Rotich. “Rains are failing, rivers are drying up or getting polluted as we all watch.”

 

The Mara River basin spans both the Serengeti National Park and the Masai Mara game reserve – home to many of East Africa’s rare and exotic wildlife species.

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