Tanzania: Mara River Basin Needs Protection

A CRUCIAL regional meeting focusing on Mara River and the Serengeti ecosystem conservation is scheduled to be held in Serengeti District of Mara Region.

Serengeti officials have confirmed that the conference that would line up an exhibition on wildlife protection and conservation will be held in September in Mugumu town, the capital of Serengeti District.

"It is a big event that would draw participants from some of the East African sister countries," Mr John Lendoyan, a senior government wildlife officer based in Serengeti told the 'Daily News'.

Serengeti District Council Vice-Chairman Jumanne Kwiro also confirmed that preliminary preparations meant to make the event successful have started. "It is big honour for us to host the event and we have started preparations", Mr Kwiro, who is also the councilor for Natta Ward (CCM), said.

It would be the first time for the wildlife-rich district to host the conference, according to Mr Lendoyn. "Apart from Mara River conservation the event is also tailored to discuss on how best to protect and conserve the great Serengeti migration," the official said.

Mara River basin forms part of the Serengeti ecosystem. But the survival of the river basin, which is shared by Kenya and Tanzania, is reportedly threatened by increasing human activity. Serengeti officials have cited massive deforestation as one of the major threats to the river basin.

They have called for immediate intervention from the Central Government. "This is an important resource that is blessed with a variety of beautiful animals. But it is being damaged at a high speed", the Serengeti District Council Chairman, Mr Ng'oina told this reporter recently.

Deforestation is almost turning large a part of the river basin into a desert, according to Mr Ng'oina. He cited frequent floods in Serengeti villages which are located near Mara River as a vivid example that shows that the river is now under a huge threat. Mara River starts on Mau forests on the Kenyan side and discharges water into Lake Victoria on the Tanzanian side.

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