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Mountain Dispatches:
News from the Mount Kenya Trust

September 2014

Pictorial news and highlights from the Mount Kenya Trust April - August 2014
It's been a busy few months with very positive news to report, as well as the very sad news of Mountain Bull's death at the hand of poachers in May. We sorely miss this big iconic bull elephant who was always in our hearts, even as he kept us on our toes with his fence-breaking, and road-crossing antics.

Humphrey Munene, our Field Co-ordinator, has been working with communities in the Ontulili area replanting in plots where seedlings planted in March were affected by dry conditions while beginning to prepare for the short rains. We have now set up a new nursery site for our ongoing partnership with Safarilink.

In May the completion of the first phase of the Mount Kenya Fence project, led by Rhino Ark, was marked with a ceremony attended by all the partners. Mount Kenya Trust has made a sizable contribution via generous donors to Phase II of the fence which is being constructed in the Chogoria area. We continue to assist Rhino Ark and stakeholders with the project as a whole, particularly with respect to community engagement.

In August huge fires in the Marania area were extinguished following an overwhelming team effort involving the Kenya Forest Service, the Kenya Wildlife Service, the Ntrimiti community, Kisima Farm, Marania Farm and Mount Kenya Trust.
The Mount Kenya Trust teams and management dropped everything to help out and we were able to feed an average of 100 people over 3 days with generous assistance from the members of the Mountain Club of Kenya.

 
RIP Mountain Bull

The elephant poaching crisis has been made all the more poignant by the deaths of Mountain Bull, on Mount Kenya, and Satao in Tsavo. Kenya's most famous bull elephants were killed within weeks of each other. Mountain Bull was the reason we were able to bring the Elephant Corridor project to life; and though he was nothing if not stubborn he eventually used it the conventional way. In the picture he exits the Mount Kenya Elephant corridor with a friend. Now he is gone and his shortened tusks would have given little value to few people.

Never have elephants been more persecuted as they are squeezed into tighter and tighter spaces. We need your support to help increase our support to KWS on Mount Kenya to reduce the numbers of elephant killed, and to increase awareness in the region. We owe it to him and his lesser known kin who are speared, shot with arrows and bullets and poisoned for a heartless trade that benefits few Kenyans and destroys one of our most valuable economic resources and the heart of our National identity.
Our Forest Guardians at work
 
Clockwise from the top:
1. The Mount Kenya Trust teams all take part in training at Mpala Research Center provided by Space for Giants.
2. A makeshift poachers den is discovered and destroyed by the Joint Wildlife Protection Team.
3. The Joint Wildlife Protection Team remove a snare and free a bushbuck from a slow painful death.
4. Our Horse Patrol Team and Marania team fight fires set by local communities in the Embori Area with Kisima Farm's assistance over two days in May. It was necessary to cut down rosewood tree that kept reigniting due to intense heat at its core.
5. One of many animal snares collected and destroyed by our men between April and August 2014.
New Community Health Project

The Trust has embarked on a new pilot project to improve community access to preventative health care and family planning advice and services. We are working within the framework of Government targets with local Ministry of Heath officials and nurses to enable them to reach more members of the community. Four individuals will be trained to assist in expanding access in the Mount Kenya area. Our Administration Officer Lillian Wanjiku has taken a lead role in running the project in the Timau and Embu areas.
Forest Restoration

We have set up a new nursery for women's groups engaged in our tree planting projects near Sirimon (top image). They are tending to seedlings that will be planted in October thanks to our partnership with Safarilink. We we plan to plant more than 4,000 seedlings in the nearby zone allocated for this particular project.

Sadly we had some set backs when some of the 10,000 seedlings planted in the Karuri section of Ontulili in March suffered losses due to poor rainfall and some issues with the community who are given plots to plant crops in the area in return for planting the trees. At a meeting in May led by the Kenya Forest Service and Mount Kenya Trust, the community were told that plots would be confiscated from those who neglected seedlings when it came to harvesting and that those plots would be allocated to people who had taken great care to ensure their survival rates. The Trust has more than made up the shortfalls by replacing seedlings at the site which benefited from rain in August. We have since planted 10,000 more cedar seedlings (pictures above). We are hopeful we can plant a further 10,000 seedlings in the '10to4' supported zone in October.
The Mount Kenya Fence Project

The 2nd Phase of the Rhino Ark Fence is well underway. The 'full' fence specification being used is comprehensive and very expensive to build. This is a hugely important project for the future of Mount Kenya, and the 'Rhino Chargers', who have made the fencing of the Aberdares, Eburu and Mount Kenya possible, should be very proud. Other partners including the Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service, IFAD and Mount Kenya Trust are contributing both financially and in terms of expertise. The Mount Kenya Trust have assisted Rhino Ark with the community liaison as the fence moves along the eastern side of the Mountain, and were also able to secure a grant via Zurich Zoo which covers the labour costs for 10km of the first section of Phase II in the Chogoria area. Over 8km of Phase II has already been constructed since Phase I (52km) was completed in May.

Eventually the MKT constructed fences, that have helped reduce human / elephant conflict for the past 14 years on on the western side of the mountain, will be upgraded as part of this huge project and we will assist where we can every step of the way.
Events
 
In July our teams joined the organisation Elephant Neighbors Center, on one of their many walks around Kenya to raise awareness about elephant poaching. They visited towns and villages in Laikipia this July. Jim Nyamu has walked thousands and thousands of kilometers to bring attention to the problem. We think he is an amazing ambassador and we were very pleased to lend our physical support and a contribution to the walk costs.

In June the Joint Wildlife Protection Team, Susie and Humphrey ran a water stop for the Safaricom Lewa Marathon. 5% of the proceeds of this world-class event have been donated to Mount Kenya Trust since the very first marathon on Lewa, and we were more than happy to help out. The Marathon funds have been a lifeline for the Trust.
Education

Our Field Co-ordinator Humphrey Munene organised a week of  environmental film shows  in Meru County in May as part of our continuing education programme. Humphrey and a KWS officer were accompanied by the Trust's Joint Wildlife Protection Team who were able to talk about their experiences patrolling in the forests around Ruthumbi. The team visited 5 schools and 2 market localities where they engaged with an adult audience.
The SAX 10to4

It's time to get geared up! Take part in Kenya's most popular, most inclusive mountain bike challenge in 2015. All proceeds from the event go towards our conservation projects, with particular emphasis on indigenous forestation of the Karuri area and our Education programme. Entries are now open - sign up and get your team fundraising for your entry donation. Click on the button below to find out more.
10to4 info, entries & Super Sport coverage
Parting Shot

Moorland zebras and the mountain peaks taken by our Horse Patrol Team. Please send us your images of Mount Kenya for our Social Media pages and newsletters. We will include a credit for the ones we use.
Mount Kenya Trust
10to4
Mount Kenya Trust
10to4
Thank you for your support!

Batian Level Donors
The Woodcock Family Charitable Trust

Nelion Level Donors & Fundraising Events

The Fly 540 10to4, The US Fish & Wildlife Service, The Segre Foundation via Zurich Zoo

Lenana Level Donors
The African Fund for Endangered Wildlife, The Safaricom Foundation

Coryndon Peak Level Donors
Eden Wildlife Trust, Safaricom Marathon, CHASE Africa

Point Piggot Level Donors & Events
Jeremy and Claire Evans, The International Elephant Foundation, Jim Butterfield

Point Dutton Level Donors & Events

Safarilink, The 3-Day Nanyuki ride

Thanks to our regular contributors for their assistance so far this year: The Mountain Club of Kenya, Gill Tree, Ol Donyo Farm, Steve Strong, Dom & Melissa Weeks, Vicky Tait, Alan & Sue Dixon.

Our partners: We wouldn't be able to keep up the good work without our most important supporting partners. These include The Kenya Wildlife Service, The Kenya Forest Service Kisima Farm, Marania Farm and Borana Conservancy. Asanteni sana.

We are indebted to Morten Jensen for his voluntary time working on the Trust's accounts for the Finance Committee.




 
Donate to the cause via Tusk Trust
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  • Individual supporters: Contribute just 1,000/- per month sent as 12,000/- to become an annual supporter.
  • Small businesses: Please consider contributing just 2,500/- per month sent as 30,000/- annual support.
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If you are in Kenya the easiest way to contribute is to send your support directly to our bank account via MPESA using the following instructions:

To transfer the relavent amount to Mt. Kenya Trust's Standard Chartered KSh account follow the instructions below on your phone:

1. SIM applications
2. Choose MPESA
3. Choose Pay Bill
4. Enter business no. – 329329
5. Enter account no. – 0108033190000
6. Enter the amount you are donating for this year
Email lillian@mounkenyatrust.org the reference and you details.


For assistance to make the payments by direct debit please email Lillian for more details. There is no obligation to continue supporting us each year but we will send a reminder. We really appreciate your help!
Copyright © 2014 Mount Kenya Trust. All rights reserved.

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PO Box 690
Nanyuki 10400
Kenya
Email:
sweeks@mountkenyatrust.org

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Directors: Jeremy Block; Martin Dyer; Martin Forster; Levi Wendo Miheso; Susannah Rouse; Tarsem Sembhi; Don Smith; Maj Gen Peter Waweru; William (Bongo) Woodley