350-year-old King Muuru set on fire in Meru

Oldest tree in Mt Kenya Forest.

King Muuru as seen from a distance

King Muuru which is regarded as the oldest tree in Mt Kenya forest was the target of arson and environmental activists are calling for investigations into the incident.

According to a report by Nation on Thursday, November 11, an unknown arsonist set the hollow trunk of the 350-year old oak tree on fire.

The fire was detected on Sunday after rangers noticed smoke rising from the tree, according to Meru Ecosystem Conservator John Njoroge.

We are still investigating who was behind the arson attack on the most visited tree in the Mt Kenya ecosystem. When we discovered the fire, we called in the fire fighters from Meru town who helped in putting it out,” he said.

The fire caused extensive damage to the tree, which is already affected by old age. It’s unfortunate that the attack happened after we gave a special users license for an ecotourism facility around the tree,” Njoroge added.

King Muuru has a base diameter of 2.7 metres and takes seven adults joining hands in a circle to hug it.

The oak tree also has a crack on its base which is big enough to allow an average adult human to go inside and about 5 can be accommodated comfortably.

King Muuru was about 50 metres tall before its top snapped off because of old age last year.

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