Mara — DOZENS of livestock keepers with thousands of cows have started vacating game protected areas and water sources in different parts of Mara region.
They included herders who have in recent months been encroaching the Serengeti National Park (SENAPA) in search of pasture and water.
This was disclosed by government officials from district councils with some villages surrounding SENAPA at a meeting in Mugumu held in preparation for Mara Day cerebrations.
Mara Regional Commissioner Mr John Tupa chaired the crucial meeting, which was also attended by District Commissioners, District Council Chairpersons, District Executive Directors and other senior government officials.
"The reports we are getting show that it possible to remove livestock from game protected areas and from water catchment areas. This exercise should continue even after Mara Day celebrations," RC Tupa insisted.
The regional chief said he will form a team that will follow up on the reports presented by the district officials.
Tanzania and Kenya have started commemorating Mara Day every year in a bid to conserve and protect the Mara River Basin which is shared by the two East African countries. The day falls on September 15.
The decision to have Mara Day celebrations was reached by Lake Victoria Basin Council of Ministers session which sat in the Rwandan capital Kigali May last year.
The first Mara Day celebration was held in the Kenya Bomet District last year. Mara regional authorities are in the final stages of preparation with a view to making the event successful.
The day strategically also designed to enable the two nations celebrate the great migration of about 15.5 million wildebeests from SENAPA in Tanzania to Masai Mara Game Reserve on the Kenyan side.
Mara Day is now seen as a big day for conservationists and environmentalists striving to protect the Mara River Basin, which is reportedly threatened by increased human activities on both sides of the border.
The river starts from Mau forests on the Kenya side and passes through the Masai Mara Game Reserve and later SENAPA, before discharging its waters into Lake Victoria on the Tanzanian side. The Mara River Basin forms an important part of the great Serengeti ecosystem.