Mt. Kenya Trust’s latest news

MOUNTAIN DISPATCHES

A bumper edition of the Mountain Dispatches newsletter, delivered right to your inbox, brings you six months of mountain news!

MKT continues to support the forest, water sources, community and wildlife living on Mount Kenya and the surrounding landscape. We are as always immensely proud of the dedication and achievements of our team on the ground as they work through pandemics, fires, hail storms, landslides, flat tyres to deliver projects on schedule. One of our ranger team even built their own bridge to continue their patrols!!

MOUNTAIN DAY CELEBRATES THE PEAKS OF THE WORLD

We don’t usually need a day to celebrate Mount Kenya because we love and live it everyday but we do celebrate International Mountain Day in December every year, to promote sustainable development in mountain areas and to spread awareness of these delicate ecosystems that are under tremendous pressure.

VIEW FROM SPACE: Mount Kenya, taken from the NASA Earth Science Remote Sensing Unit, mounted on the International Space Station.
VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE

We would be so grateful if you could take 30 seconds to vote for Mount Kenya Trust to receive funding for planting 25,000 indigenous trees in the Imenti Forest Reserve (north-east Mt Kenya). Link below!

We have been working in this area since 2017 and over 310,000 trees have been planted on the site to date

The European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) funding will finance the removal of the invasive Lantana camara bush and the planting of 25,000 indigenous trees at the site.

VOTE HERE
THE BEST TIME TO PLANT A TREE IS…

Tree planting remains one of our most championed and important projects.

Twice a year, every year, we head out onto the slopes to plant as many indigenous trees as possible with our donors, supporters, Kenya Forest Service and Community Forest Associations. In October 2020, we planted 125,000 trees and this season (already starting in March) we are set to plant another 100,000 seedlings. Although we only physically plant in the rains, we are busy all year round collecting seeds, nurturing and growing seedlings in our network of tree nurseries to ensure we have plenty ready for planting.

Below are some of the team showing a variety of test for propagation bags using recycled materials including a beer can, seed bag, tin can and toilet roll holder.

FIRE FIGHTING AROUND MT KENYA LANDSCAPE – SUPPORTING OUR NEIGHBOURS

Our fire fighting teams have been helping to suppress a fierce forest fire on the Lolldaiga Hills, that broke out on Wednesday 24th March. It had been burning for several days with strong winds. In total it has burned roughly 8,000 acres of grassland and cedar forest, despite extraordinary efforts to stop it. The fire has now been contained.

10to4 Mountain Bike Challenge 2021 – The second year of the Pandemic

It was with heavy hearts that we had to cancel Day 2 and Day 3 of the 10to4 Mountain Bike Challenge less than 12 hours before the start time due to a positive COVID-19 test.

We were heartbroken because of the staggering support and enthusiasm we had received to run the event and to cancel at the last minute was devastating to the whole event – from the organising committee, the rangers to the cyclists. We are very grateful for all the kind and supportive messages – as you an imagine this was a difficult yet essential decision to make. The safety of our participants always comes first – whether that be wildlife, rains or pandemics.

We are hoping to run an event later in the year to compensate all of those who were not able to race – including the kids. We look forward to a brighter year and next year’s event with hope as the vaccines are rolled out throughout the country.

THANK YOU AND GOOD LUCK LEAFY!

We would also like to say a bitter sweet goodbye to Leafy Rous, who has organised the 10to4 event for the past three years. She has held steadfast and been a rock to us in two of the toughest 10to4’s ever undertaken (2020 – the year of the mud and 2021 – the year of the pandemic). Along with creating a whole new route and raising the events profile, her teamwork, enthusiasm, professionalism and calmness in the face of all challenges is unbelievable and we wish her and her family the very best. Asante sana Leafy! You will always be part of our MKT family.

MKT RANGERS COMPLETE THE WILDLIFE RANGER CHALLENGE

Our rangers trained hard for the whole of 2020 to take part in the Wildlife Ranger Challenge that raised funds for rangers around the world whose jobs have been threatened by the ongoing COVID pandemic. The final event was a 21km half marathon through the forest of Mt Kenya carrying heavy backpacks with all of the ranger equipment. The racing team was joined by local community members and the rest of the MKT ranger and management team to cheer them on.

This crucial funding supported MKT’s Imenti Patrol Team throughout 2020 and 2021 and we are very thankful to the Tusk Trust organising committee and partners for working so hard to make this funding available to us.

RIPARIAN RIVER SURVEY

In 2020, the MKT conducted a Phase 1 pilot riparian land survey to establish the state and the use of riparian lands by wildlife, livestock and people along five rivers feeding the Ewaso River. The results gained insight into the problem at different distances from the source, and to develop site-specific and problem specific mitigation immediate, medium- and longer-term projects.

The main results of the survey show that elephant sign are only found along the Timau River that joins the Nanyuki River at around 15km from the mountain, until it joins the Ewaso where the survey ended. Results also show that once leaving Mt Kenya, there is no elephant sign until reaching the ‘elephant-friendly’ ranches along the Timau and Nanyuki Northern banks. In between the elephant friendly ranches, one finds quite a long stretch of river (~15km) flanked by farms that do not tolerate elephants and where HEC is therefore most common. The survey helps us spatially focus HEC (mostly over water) mitigation on those areas.

It was found that every river has a unique situation. In particular, the Timau and Nanyuki Rivers (on which subsequent projects will focus) is very unique indeed. The Northern banks of these Rivers are largely flanked by elephant (wildlife) friendly large ranches, and in the last decade the Southern have been systematically bought up. Most already have wildlife-proof fences on the Southern boundaries and no fences towards the river, allowing wildlife from the ranches to cross over onto their land.

This situation creates a buffer between the local farming communities and the wildlife ranches and the bulk of these private land owners are very much in favour of restoring the riverbanks. This reduces the length of the River needing attention, allowing to focus almost all riparian restoration and HEC mitigation projects on the patches of agriculture lands in between the ranches.

New Tree Nursery!
We’ve set up a new tree nursery at a lower altitude than our office nursery so that we can grow a variety of different species. There are over 20,000 seedlings in the nursery already. Many of the seedlings will be used to restore riverine habitats along the banks of the rivers that flow form Mount Kenya into the Ewaso N’giro.
A small family of elephants using the original elephant underpass under the A2 Highway. The Mount Kenya elephant corridor continues to assist a greater number elephant visitors and migrators year on year.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Batian Level Donors ($50,000+)
Minara Foundation, Friends of Environment Conservation Trust, African Fund for Endangered Wildlife, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Eden Wildlife Trust, IUCN Save Our Species in partnership with the European Union, Tusk Trust via Wildlife Ranger Challenge, Wildlife Conservation Society.

Nelion Level Donors ($25,000+)
Timaflor, Tropic Air, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, International Tree Foundation, CHASE Africa.

Lenana Level ($10,000+)
Thin Green Line Foundation, Elephant Cooperation, International Elephant Foundation, Anonymous, Dormans, WWF.

Coryndon Level (<$10,000 & in kind)
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, The Grasshopper Club, Kisima Farm,
Marania Farm, Ol Donyo Farm, Frikogen, BURN Jikos, Golden Bottle Fund.

Thank you to everyone for 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, The Woodcock Family, Greystones Development Company, Borana Conservancy, African Ascents and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.

Special thanks to Anne Tissier & Jemma Batten for their generous time and support.

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Copyright © 2017 Mount Kenya Trust. All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
PO Box 690
Nanyuki 10400
Kenya

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