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Conservationists warn over cost of illegal logging

By | Jan 5th 2011 | 2 min read

By Kipchumba Kemei

Narok County

Conservationists have raised alarm over illegal logging and harvesting of sandalwood at an indigenous forest in Narok South.

They said Naimene-Enkiyo Forest in Loita area was being depleted for commercial purposes.

The conservationists are now calling on Narok County Council and Kenya Wildlife Service to protect the forest.

"We are concerned that illegal logging was going on in the forest yet no effort is being made to protect it," said their spokesperson Samson Silantoi.

Silantoi, a KWS Honorary Warden said it was sad that loggers who invaded the forest almost ten years ago were targeting trees that take many years to mature.

Intercepted lorry

"This is an important forest because apart from being the source of traditional medicine to the locals, it is a source of many rivers that flow to Tanzania," he said.

The conservationists said sandalwood was facing extinction in the area because of unchecked harvesting and urged the county council and KWS to introduce regular patrols on the Ewaso Nyiro-Naimene Enkiyo road.

The Kenya Forest Service rangers led by the area Zonal Manager Joshua Charana recently intercepted a lorry carrying about 30 tones of sandalwood and the outlawed cedar posts at Ewaso Nyiro trading centre.

Charana said the Sandalwood was being transported to Nairobi where there is high demand for it.

Entry points

Meanwhile, Kenya Wildlife Service says it has stopped logging and other forms of destruction in Mau Forest after Government deployed rangers in 2008.

The head of Mau Forest Joint Security Jacob Mwanjala said all entry points to the expansive forest have been sealed.

"The sealing of all entry points to the forest has made it impossible for loggers to access it. But our mandate is being challenged by settlements in the Maasai Mau block," said Mwanjala.

The Prime Minister’s office, according to the head of the Mau Forest Secretariat Committee Hassan Noor, spends about Sh500,000 monthly towards upkeep of security personnel in the forest.

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