Mountain Dispatches

Mount Kenya Trust News Updates

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News from the Mount Kenya Trust
April to June 2017
Dear ATC Readers,

We are making huge progress in upgrading our community ranger bases to improve the living standards of our men who work tirelessly to protect the wildlife and forests of Mount Kenya. We also continue to step up our capacity in areas away from the main bases to increase our ability to help the Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Forest Service rangers to stamp out illegal activity.

Our increased support in schools through education and tree planting is helping them to become more sustainable in terms of energy use. We continue our research in the Imenti area to help inform stakeholders on elephant movement and human-wildlife conflict mitigation.

As always, thank you for your continued support.

Susie Weeks
Executive Director

Our Annual Report is available to read click above.
Imenti Focus

For many decades, the Imenti Forest Reserve has suffered from excessive habitat destruction and degradation. A report on the status of Mt Kenya ecosystems, published in 1999, revealed: ‘The natural forest of the Lower Imenti is mostly decimated, with more than 90 per cent of the tree canopy having been removed to provide land for crops, in particular potatoes, maize and beans.’ The state of the land remains similar to date.

Despite this, Dr VanLeeuwe 2016 survey found that the majority of Mt Kenya’s elephants have concentrated this area – an unusual finding. With more human activity this typically means fewer elephants and vice versa. The HEC is intense. Between 2014 and 2016, nine people and nine elephants were killed in this highly pressurised region.

What’s being done?

Starting in January 2017, the US Fish and Wildlife, along with the Wildlife Conservation Society and MKT, are undertaking a two-year project on security and research.

The second elephant density survey was carried out in the Imenti Forest Reserve in June. The study aims to look at elephant movement through the different seasons. With the information, we hope to help mitigate the intense human-elephant conflict in the area through corridors, fencing or beehive deterrence.

The International Tree Foundation are now also on board to provide support for reafforestation in October 2017 – a very exciting multi-partnership project!

Top: The new IPT ranger base. Bottom left: Newspaper articles highlight intense human-wildlife conflict in the region Bottom right: The team are trained for the second elephant survey.
Camping patrols

Our teams often move around the mountain, away from their bases, to conduct camping patrols in areas where there is lots of illegal logging, charcoal burning poaching, and bush meat. Now with generous annual support from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, we can conduct more patrols in a wider area.

MWG were tasked to comb Sirimon areas. This was a three-day patrol. Areas of patrol included Kithithina, upper Gatinga and ambushes in arresting two men for illegal logging, they were arrested in possession of seven red cedar posts and two pangas. They were booked at Timau police station.

JWPT were tasked with combing Kamweti, Kangaita, Gwasi and Katunguru, areas. This was a three-day patrol, reporting logging hotspots areas at Gwasi, Katunguru, and Kamweti. While snare, hunting and bushmeat hotspots reported to be in Kangaita areas. No arrests.

IPT were tasked to comb Gathiuru, Batian lodge and Burguret areas. This was a three-day patrol. Findings included charcoal kilns, lots of red cedar chopping for posts as well as lots of red cedar chopping sites. There was arrest of one illegal logger with two red cedar posts.

Left: The team on camping patrol Right: Red cedar logging site found.

A HUGE thank you to the Eden Wildlife Trust for donating their lorry to the Trust. This will be a huge asset to our work and contribute to our field projects from transporting hay, tree seedlings and ponies!

Launched in October 2016, the Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership—MKEWP— is a partnership of public, private and civil society organisations committed to socially acceptable, economically favourable and environmentally sustainable management of water resources in the Ewaso Ng’iro North Catchment area.

We have enough water to meet the needs of six times the current population and that is why the Meru County, Laikipia County and Nyeri County have joined the Mt Kenya sub-basin water users to work together in protecting our #WaterWealth by providing the mechanism by which water access, use, management and conservation can be addressed in the Upper Ewaso Ng’iro North Catchment area.

Panga familia, Afya na mazingira
My family, my health, my environment.

Rising, unplanned population growth creates economic and environmental crises. In Africa, 24.2% of women of reproductive age have an unmet need for modern contraception, with an estimated 225 million women in developing countries would like to delay or stop childbearing but are not using any method of contraception.
(WHO, 2016).

‘It is satisfying at the end of the day to know that you have made a step ahead to better people’s futures. A happy and healthy community is a happy and a healthy nation,’ says Delphin Mukira CHSP Officer.

Informed women are able to make choices on their family size and spacing of their children. This goes a long way to alleviate poverty, securing futures and reducing pressure on environmental resources.

Kenya: Tread very carefully

‘In rural Northern Kenya, you can track the notoriously feisty eastern black rhino, picnic with elephants, and explore Mount Kenya on the back of a pony — proof, if ever it was ever needed, that not all safaris are created equal.’

Read about us in the National Geographic – click on the link below.

Tree Planting

On May 13th, over 300 people convened at Karuri on the northern slopes of Mt. Kenya, to plant 42,000 indigenous seedlings. The exercise coordinated by the Mount Kenya Trust with support from Rhino Ark, KWS, KFS, the Ontulili Community Forest Association and the adjacent schools, is part of a commitment made by the partners to rehabilitate the 3,000 hectares in Karuri area that were illegally clear-felled decades ago.

Peter Kinyua, Chairman of KFS, participated actively in the planting exercise together with his family. Karuri area is of critical importance as it forms the narrow forest belt on the northern slopes of the mountain that separates the moorlands from the neighbouring farms and acts as an important wildlife corridor. After being clear-felled many years ago, the area was designated as a forest plantation area by KFS. This decision was recently reversed and Karuri has now been designated as an indigenous forest area.

Top: School children from the local area arrive to help with the tree planting Middle left: Peter Kinyua, KFS Chairman, plants a tree. Middle right: Christian Lambrechts, CEO Rhino Ark, with his children. Bottom left: Susie Weeks, Executive Director MKT. Bottom right: George Chege, MKT Tree Nursery Assistant.
Corridor Update

Lots of traffic through the corridor over the past few months – check out a few of the snaps below! Our fencers have been hard at work fixing damage to the 28km fence line made by vehicles, people, and wildlife.

Top: Leopard in the Underpass. Mid-left: MKT fencer repairs damage made to the solar fence. Mid-right: Elephant families moving through the end pass at night. Bottom left: Spotted hyena. Bottom right: Serval cat at the underpass.
Ranger HOUSES and BATUK (British Army Training Unit Kenya)
We would like say a HUGE to thank BATUK with their contribution towards the JWPT new housing accommodation block by funding four uniports at Ruthumbi, northeast Mt Kenya. The team have been sleeping in dilapidated tents for months and this renovation will make a huge difference to their living standards, as well as morale. With additional funding from the Eden Wildlife Trust and the Thin Green line the team will shortly have a fully functional and completed base including a renovated KFS building for a communal area and kitchen.
UK Awareness Event

With a new UK Board of Trustees, we hope to build upon our network of supporters and donors to raise the profile of our work abroad. A short talk was given, along with a film on MKT work, with a great question and answer session afterward. Big thanks to Peter Clayton and our UK Trustees for all of your help with the event.

Tree planting in schools – in the past few months we have given out over 1500 trees in schools around Imenti, Timau and Naro Moru for planting in their school compounds for woodlots. This was through awareness raised by our education programme.
Parting Shot: All hands on deck at tree planting time – even the tiny ones!
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Thank you for your support so far in 2017!

Batian Level Donors
The US Fish and Wildlife Service
International Tree Foundation

Nelion Level Donors & Fundraising Events
CHASE Africa, Timaflor, Elephant Cooperation.

Lenana Level Donors
Hugh Sloane, Safaricom Marathon via Tusk Trust, European Outdoor Conservation Association, Disney via the World Conservation Society, Thin Green Line Foundation.

Coryndon Level Donors
Eden Wildlife Trust, The Woodcock Family, Tusk Trust,
BATUK, Tropic Air

Point Piggot Level Donors & Event sponsors
International Elephant Foundation, The Rufford Foundation, BATUK.

Point Dutton Level Donors & Event Sponsors
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kisima Farm, Marania Farm, Ol Donyo Farm, Steve Strong, Emily Marston, Bunson Travel, DSWT, Safarilink.

Thank you to everyone who is visiting our tree nursery at Turaco Farm.

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, African Ascents Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and One Stop.

Thank you to Nancy Balfour, Charlie Morison, Morten Jensen, Hilde VanLeeuwe, James Goad and Gwili Gibbon for your voluntary time and assistance.

Click here if you would like to receive our monthly reports

Photos: Mount Kenya Trust, Francis Kago.
Donate to the cause via Tusk Trust
Our mailing address is:
PO Box 690
Nanyuki 10400

Physical Address:
We are located on Turaco Farm between Nanyuki and Timau. Please click here to request a map to our new offices

Directors: Jeremy Block; Martin Dyer; Levi Wendo Miheso; Tarsem Sembhi; Maj Gen Peter Waweru; William (Bongo) Woodley; Susie Weeks.