Kenya: Kenya Forest Service has noted online information about destruction and illegal logging in Cheptongei Forest Station, Elgeyo Marakwet County.
Following reports on social media appearing yesterday, 21/11/2023, KFS, through its Forest Station Manager, undertook a thorough search within the Lalak area to verify the incident and sites. It was established that the pictures circulating on social media are similar to an earlier report received by KFS on 28/10/2023.
The pictures are, therefore, not a recent occurrence as it has been reported online but they are actually photos from an incident that was reported over a month ago.
Therefore, The Service urges the originator of yesterday’s post to contact the nearest KFS office or make a report through the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry toll-free hotline number 0800724570 to assist with investigations.
KFS will not tolerate illegality, and the Service has enhanced its rapid response capacity for any reported matter. Currently, additional officers have been dispatched to the Lalak area for further combing the Elgeyo forest to stop any further illegalities. Public members are advised to report any observed anomaly regarding forest management to the nearest forest office for corrective action.
KFS, however, wishes to commend Kenyans for sharing such reports, and we assure them of our unrelenting action to stem all illegalities in our forests. Kenyans living next to forests are advised to adhere to the provisions of the Forest Conservation and Management Act 2016.
Further, the public is hereby informed that the Kenya Forest Service has launched a vigorous campaign coined “Operation Imarisha Misitu.” The campaign aims to secure all forests from all manner of illegal human-related activities.
These include illegal logging, unauthorised grazing of livestock, illegal cultivation in non-PELIS areas, charcoal burning, cutting down of cedar posts, and hunting of wildlife. This campaign is being undertaken by operations teams in all forest stations country wide to tackle all forest crimes.
KFS is also collaborating with other security agencies and non-state actors to push the campaign to higher levels of effectiveness. The Service is also applying modern technology, including artificial intelligence (AI), as part and parcel of the operation campaign.
“KFS ask for the support of the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry and urges all to report any forest crimes to the Ministry, and they started a 24/7 toll-free hotline number 0800724570. Remember, we all have a responsibility to protect our forests,” KFS urges residents.