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Pictorial news and highlights from the Mount Kenya Trust
January - May 2015

Mountain Dispatches:
News from the Mount Kenya Trust

June / July 2015

The Trust is currently running more projects than ever before and we have had a busy but fruitful year so far, despite some big challenges. Our holistic approach to conservation is one that nurtures partnerships and we owe our growth and increased scope not just to the dedication of our teams and supporters, but to the strong partnerships we continue to forge in the public and private sector.

Our most successful 10to4 Mountain Bike challenge yet was held in February. The SAX sponsored event raised 5.1 million shillings this year, an increase of 1.9 million on the 2014 proceeds. Funds raised by the 10to4 are divided between our 10to4 dedicated tree planting project, our mountain teams, our education project and core costs. We are incredibly grateful to all our sponsors, volunteers and participants for making this hugely popular fundraiser for the Trust's work possible.

Fires dominated our activities in March, a stressful time for all, when illegal activity poses a dangerous, additional and mindless threat to the mountain's ancient forests. Though the threat seems to grow each year, it's clear that the communities around the mountain as a whole are now more and more willing to assist with fire fighting. This fire season saw hundreds of men and women take part.  The joint fire fighting effort between the Kenya Wildlife Service, the Kenya Forest Service, the Mount Kenya Trust and communities was incredible. The support and funding we received from an emergency campaign and inputs from local companies and individuals from here to Nairobi, made it a truly Kenyan effort!

The pace at which Rhino Ark and its partners are progressing with the new Mount Kenya Fence project is very impressive, with nearly 100km of the 'total fence' already completed. We are proud to be a part of this initiative and grateful that the fence project allows us to concentrate on wildlife and habitat protection, forest rehabilitation, education and community support. This important intervention for the long-term alleviation of human wildlife conflict and forest protection give our field operations and other projects greater strength and sustainability.

There are lots of other exciting developments to report and we are indebted to all our donors and in-kind supporters for helping us to continue our important work.

Susie Weeks
Executive Officer
THE SAX 10to4 2015  
The 10to4 Mountain bike challenge in February was a roaring success with a total of 276 entrants in the main events, as well as 114 kids in the Braeburn children's races. We must say a huge thanks to our title sponsors SAX for sponsorship of event running costs, which came to KES 3.5 million. Before Don Smith and his team came on board with this level of commitment, it was difficult for the event to generate meaningful funds for the Trust, given the huge task of organising it. We are eternally thankful for the generosity of our partners, who donate huge resources to help us host an event over such a large, diverse geographical area that teems with wildlife.

The 10to4 offers 3 days of events for all abilities and ages. From the Hardcore and Extreme to the Braeburn children's races there is something for everyone.

The overall winner of the 10to4 this year were Safari Simbaz champion Samson Gighuru in the men's Extreme event over 2 days and Joyce Nayruri in the women's Extreme. Please find the full results table HERE.
Special Thanks to the following sponsors:
SAX - no event could take place without the overall title sponsor contribution. The costs of running the event could never be covered by entry fees alone, SAX make entry donations more valuable to our cause.

who were on site for a whole week, plus dedicating time to planning before the event.  They supplied the tents, tables, chairs, power, lighting and the transport and manpower to set it all up up, take it all down and keep everything running in the mean time. They also fed our support teams and the sponsored riders, thus reducing the financial burden and enabling us to channel more funds into conservation projects. 

TROPIC AIR - Tropic is unfailingly supportive of the 10to4 event and conservation projects in general. Having a helicopter available not only adds to the spectacle from a media point of view but allows us to monitor potential wildlife threats and respond rapidly in the event of an emergency. They help us to guarantee evacuation for injured people to the local hospital at zero cost, and ensure we get a bird's eye view of the course and riders as the event unfolds.

Jimmy passed away earlier this year. He was a long serving former Mount Kenya Trust Trustee who never missed a 10to4 event, always being there for us as a time keeper with his wife Rose. He was a truly committed family and community man and is missed by all that knew him. Farewell old friend and thank you for all that you stood for.
These are just a few images out of hundreds of the documented evidence of our conservation interventions over the past 6 months. Rescuing wildlife, destroying snares and traps, destroying charcoal kilns, poacher dens and marijuana fields, arresting loggers, charcoal producers and poachers - it is all in a days work for our teams, who put them selves at great risk on a daily basis. One of our men was badly attacked by a poacher with a panga this year and all of our men are vulnerable to poaching cartels and highly dangerous, duplicitous characters on a regular basis.

Snares are particularly barbaric as they are often designed to kill elephants for ivory, as well as smaller mammals for bush meat. They are indiscriminate so the level of 'by-catch' followed by the inevitable and often slow and torturous death make them a high priority for our team.

The photos here show a. the JWPT team, who discovered this injured elephant called for assistance from  from Lewa Wildlife Conservancy to help free her from a snare and treat her wound b. skinned animals retrieved from a bushmeat hunter after making an arrest c. posts from indigenous hardwood chopped down by loggers d. charcoal producers arrested e. retrieval of an elephant snare like the one used to trap the elephant above f. discovery and subsequent destruction of a poacher's and logger's den within the forest.
Through our tree planting program we were able to support local communities, planting over 24,400 trees during April and May. Monitoring and care of previously planted areas also yielded rewarding results as trees grew high enough for birds to start nesting in them!

Compared to the western side of the mountain rains arrived earlier in the Irangi area where 5,000 indigenous seedlings were planted at the Magacha site. 3,500 of these trees were bought from the Wamiti and Magacha women’s groups, with a further 1,500 rare and unusual species donated by the Brackenhurst Botanic Garden in Limuru. The Trust’s tree planting project in this area is now also gratefully supported by CHASE Africa. 

By the third week of the month rain began to fall on the north-eastern Ontulili area and tree planting started in earnest, with a total of 19,440 seedlings planted on around 20ha at the Karuri site.
On the '10to4' dedicated area 16,440 seedlings were planted thanks to funding raised directly by the 2015 10to4 Mountain Bike Challenge.
3,000 seedlings were also planted at the Safarilink funded site and we were pleased to welcome seven members of the Safarilink staff who visited to assist in planting for a day.
The Mount Kenya Trust's pilot Community Health Service programme is funded by CHASE Africa and run in partnership with the Ministry of Health. It has been progressively reaching more and more members of the rural communities on the boundary of the Mount Kenya forest and will be operating every month for a whole year fr the first phase of the project.

This sees us work to train community members, who already work with us on tree planting projects, to act as mobilisers, helping us reach out to people with poor access to medical and family planning services. With the help of local doctors and counselling professionals we offer preventative and curative health care services, family planning commodities, HIV testing and cervical cancer screenings.
Between January and May our Field Co-ordinator has planned and executed the following environmental education outreaches involving:

1. Adult and young adult groups in the Sirimon, Kangaita and Kithithinia areas. Undertaken over 3 days in February, with the Sirimon KWS Warden. Daytime and evening barazas during which poaching, charcoal production, logging and relative community needs were discussed. At a separate location film shows were set up to educate the community about the importance of water catchment protection. Approximately 520 adults turned up to the barazas and film showings!

2. Also in February the team visited Kubukubu Academy in Embu County with the Embu KWS Warden. Where 400 pupils were sensitized and quizzed about the effects of climate change and deforestation.

3. In March 10 schools were visited by the Trust and KWS in Runyenjes Sub-County in Embu County. These were held during an opportune time to bring environmental awareness to the younger generation as unusually hot, windy and dry conditions were affecting all communities and fires blazed over many parts of Mount Kenya.

All of the education costs are covered by the Mount Kenya Trust.
The Mount Kenya Elephant Corridor, spearheaded by the Trust, continues to provide passage to elephants and other animals (including African wild dogs!) as they pass to and from the mountain and northern Kenya. 

We continued our monitoring and maintenance of this ‘world first’, responding to damage to the fence cause by rains, road traffic accidents and wildlife. The rains are an especially tough time for our MKT Corridor Fencing and Patrol teams, who work tirelessly to maintain the fences, with repairs carried out on a near daily basis. This includes 24km of 'total' game fence and 7km of 'short fence' along the Ntirimiti community boundary, supported by Kisima and Marania Farms and the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.

We are indebted to the Safaricom Foundation for covering the lions share of the costs of the fence maintenance and corridor patrols over the past 5 years
The Mount Kenya Comprehensive Fence Project continues to move forwards at pace.  This collaborative project is undertaken through a private/public partnership that incorporates inputs from multiple organisations - notably KWS, KFS, IFAD, County Government and local community Forest Associations, overseen by the Rhino Ark Charitable Trust.  The Mount Kenya Trust has helped to provide labour for the first 10km along the Chogoria section and community liaison for all sections. With over 10 years of fencing experience, MKT representatives attend both the community sensitisation meetings and the fencing technical meetings. 

The fence is proceeding around the mountain anti-clockwise (see map) and is soon to reach the completion of Phase Two, which will see some 100kms in place.  We are glad to be able to contribute to such a fantastic, collectively approached project. The completed fence will safeguard the integrity of Mount Kenya by acting as a barrier to both prevent human wildlife conflict and greatly reduce unregulated or illegal natural resource extraction.
Following poor rainfall throughout 2014, the early dry season of 2015 was a remarkably challenging time across the mountain. During February and March, as the dry season reached its peak, fires ravaged on many sections of the mountain. Thanks to funds raised by an emergency campaign we supported the KWS, KFS and local communities in their fire-fighting efforts. This included the provision of food and water for over one hundred people a day for over two weeks!

We are particularly grateful to the Mountain Clubs of Kenya, Greystones Development Company and Finlays Ibis Farm for donations of cash, food supplies and vital logistical support. Huge thanks is also due to Kisima Farms, Tropic Air and the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy who responded to our requests for aerial oversight to enable accurate placement of resources to fight the fires.
Good luck and thank you!
Maurice Nyaligu worked for the Trust as our Programme Officer from 2011. He was instrumental in helping us to send out more proposals and raise more funds for the Trust and bring much needed expertise in International policy, especially with respect to World Heritage Sites. He is now working in the Mara for the World Wildlife Fund and we wish him well with the next chapter of his impressive career.
Parting Shot

Elephants aren't the only creatures using the corridor. This little fellow, who we believe to be a flap-necked chameleon, was spotted by our corridor fencing team making his way towards the mountain along the elephant fence.
Mount Kenya Trust
Mount Kenya Trust
Thank you for your support in 2015!

Batian Level Donors
The Woodcock Family Charitable Trust

Nelion Level Donors & Fundraising Events

SAX 10to4: SAX (Safari Air Express)

Lenana Level Donors
CHASE Africa, Safaricom Marathon via Tusk Trust, Fooks Trust

Coryndon Level Donors
Eden Wildlife Trust, Safaricom Foundation.
SAX 10to4: BATUK, Tropic Air

Point Piggot Level Donors & Event sponsors
Jeremy and Claire Evans, The International Elephant Foundation, African Fund for Endangered Wildlife.

Point Dutton Level Donors & Event Sponsors

Safarilink, Susannah Rouse, Jim Butterfield, Finlays Farm, Steve and Robin Sapiro, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Friends of Africa International, Kisima Farm, Marania Farm, Kevin Pyper, Rebecca Brooke, The 10to4 Horse Riders (from 2014 event).
SAX 10to4: Kisima Farm, Born Free, Finlays Farm, Kenya Wildlife Service, Commercial Bank of Africa, The Ngare Ndare Forest Trust, Highlands Water,  Farwell, Timaflor, Farwell, Braeburn Schools, Bikes and Outdoors Adeventure, DHL, Frist Choice, Uhuru Flowers, Maisha Flower Mills, Deilas Ice Cream, Go Wild Africa,  Bevis Tetlow, The Trout Tree, Rift Valley Adventures, Marania Farm, Bayer Crop Science, Tusk Trust, The Safari Collection, African Ascents, Anselm Kitengela Glass, The Safari Company, Solaris, Raka Cheese, Mountain Oil, Ragati Conservancy, Tambuzi, Ol Donyo Farm, Travelshoppe.

Fire Fighting Support in March - thanks for your quick and generous response!
The Mountain Club of Kenya, The Belcher Family, Kisima Farm, Tropic Air, Tropical Heat, Kenya Sweets, Rowena Gross, Sheila Okanga, Jamie Hendriksen, Sheila Taylor, Philip Njenga, Anita Norris, Lizzie Grounds, Dani Murray, Annik Mitchell, Sira Singh, Phillipa Bengough, Elsen Karstad, Evonne Wheeler, Lisa Hannegraff, Bryan Adkins, Sarah King, Suzy Belcher, Celia & Sparky Behrens, Nicola Taylor, Teddy Kinyanjui.

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

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

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

And finally a big thank you to all the volunteers who work tirelessly at the SAX 10to4 event in February.
Photos: Mount Kenya Trust teams, Paul Benson, Maurice Shutgens, Jeff Waweru, Kjell Linthout, Kelly Wellman, Peter Coleridge.
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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
Mount Kenya Trust
Mount Kenya Trust