Mount Kenya news updates courtesy of ‘Mountain Dispatches’

MOUNTAIN DISPATCHES
JULY to SEPTEMBER 2018

Welcome to the third newsletter this year!

We are working hard to show our supporters the faces and work of Mt Kenya through the talented Routes Adventure media team, who have been following our projects for a few weeks. Check out the video on our Naro Moru fencer teams below and there will be many more released over the coming months.

The first 60+ Mt Kenya fundraising climb is to be held in January 2019, with a group of over 60’s heading up to the peaks, because the mountain is for all!

The 2019 Tropic Air 10to4 has now launched – dates will be the 15th to the 19th February and go to the website www.10to4.org for registration.

Finally we are working hard as always on protecting the forest, people, wildlife and water of Mt Kenya. See below for more updates and our work to strengthen relationships with Kenya Forest Service and the water partnerships around the mountain.

Thank you for taking the time to read our news!

Susie Weeks, Executive Director.

The Naro Moru fencers have been maintaining a 10km fence line around the western side of Mt Kenya for over a decade. The fence protects local communities from wildlife invasions, destroying crops and damaging property. It also protects the elephants from being chased and hassled by farmers trying to protect their livelihoods. The fencers work closely with the communities to reduce human-elephant conflict and to ensure wildlife and people can live peacefully and safely side by side.
Routes Adventure film crew have been following our teams over the past few weeks. Defining themselves as ‘a digital media travel community of urban nomads who want to redefine and shape travel content through video, photography, blogs, music and art.’ We just love their work and they are here capturing the pure people that work at MKT and the teamwork it is built upon. Look out for some of their work over the next few weeks on their Facebook and Instagam pages!
We released our 2017 Annual Report. Take a look at the review of the yearhere.
World Ranger Day

World Ranger Day is celebrated each year to honour the work of rangers and to remember those fallen in the line of duty. Without out ranger’s commitment and passion, the mountain, its ecosystem and wildlife would have no guardians to protect against destruction and invasion.

Over the past twelve months, we have been able to upgrade all of our ranger bases to provide more livable accommodation for our hard working teams – the least they deserve for the hours of work they put in patrolling the forest and now they can come back to comfortable and livable conditions. Kitchens, bedrooms, solar and abulation blocks have all made their lives more comfortable.

WORLD ELEPHANT DAY 31st JULY
Elephants are a huge part of MKT work on Mt Kenya. The mountain is home to around 2,500 elephants and we have a number of different projects protecting the species and its habitat. This includes:

  • The famous Elephant Corridor that connects Mt Kenya with the Ngare Ndare forest, Lewa Conservancy and beyond.
  • Two elephant underpasses that are used daily.
  • Revolutionary one-way elephant gates into the Imenti National Reserve
  • Problem animal control through ranger teams
  • Fencing to reduce human wildlife conflict through crop raiding
  • Research into bottlenecks and new corridors.
  • Desnaring operations and anti-poaching patrols alongside KWS.
Top: Elephant crossing the road in Meru. Bottom right: Elephant entering the forest through the corridor. Bottom left: New underpass already in use!
For the second year running Tropic Air are the title sponsors for the 10to4 Mountain Bike Challenge – the Trust’s biggest annual fundraiser. Registration has now opened! Go to:
www.10to4.org
BONGO SELFIE!

Bongos are still regularly making an appearance at the Ragati Forest Conservancy where we are working hard on a new proposal to enable captive bongo to be released into the wild in a controlled, organised an well-planned out initiative. Partners involved will include Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service, the Bongo Surveillance Project, Rhino Ark, Ragati Conservancy, the Mt Kenya Wildlife Conservancy along with other research and development partners.

Image credit: Bongo Surveillance Project

SPOTLIGHT – THE VALUE OF WATER
After National attention was turned on the mountain and all of our water towers in terms of both illegal and questionable abstractions of water courses at high altitude, a Government directive was put into place to remove all water intake pipes and audit their legality.

The discussion of pipelines on the mountains is long overdue and the right stakeholders must come to the table to review the drying up of one of the country’s key water towers.

Rivers that ran year round are now seasonal, and those communities downstream are paying the price. Mount Kenya is a critical catchment for millions of people who depend on it: from small to large scale agriculture, local businesses, our downstream protected areas and ultimately our entire economy.

Of course, many communities are suffering as extraction pipelines are now being removed, when they have come to rely on the water they provide.Wananichi are made promises that they should never be legally offered in many cases; as a way of winning constituents with irrational pledges. This has exacerbated the real potential to deal with the issue practically, and highlights the massive repercussions of the underhand actions of powerful people who act above the law and put the environment last.

The Government Inter Ministerial committee was formed to look into water allocation in the region. However, political pressure and has halted the process and in many cases, it is just business as usual.

Above and middle: A selection of newspaper clippings on the recent water intake presses. Bottom: A web of pipes found in September by our Ruthumbi patrol team.
STRENTHENING OUR KFS PARTNERSHIP
A productive meeting with MKT and KFS Meru (Meru, Lower Imenti, Ruthumbi, Mucheene, Marania and Ontulili stations) was held in September, chaired by the new KFS Ecosystem Conservator, John Njoroge.

In the spirit of a hopeful new era of the Kenya Forest Service the meeting was a great opportunity to meet new people, improve communication, think forward and strengthen partnerships. The one-day event was very important to harmonise focus, conservation vision and mutual trust. Projects discussed included indigenous tree planting and security and enforcement of the Forest Act. The result is that we are already working more closely than before and are putting our trust in a more collaborative future.

Representatives of KFS and MKT work together to achieve more.
HOW DO WE GROW OUR TREES?

All of the trees planted on the mountain are collected from seed from indigenous trees on the mountain.

Joseph Ngaira, our Forestry Officer, knows of all the seeding trees around the mountain and where they are. He goes throughout the year, using his network of seed collectors, to collect kilograms of seeds to germinate in the MKT nursery. Depending on the technicality of the seed germination, we then give out the seedlings to local community groups to raise up to one-foot-high, which we then buy from the group for 15KSh per seedling.

We have a whole range of indigenous tree seedlings ready for planting at the Mt Kenya Tree Nursery – based at Turaco Farm, Nanyuki. Come and visit and plant some trees!

Above: Seed collecting from mature hagania tree. Bottom left: Joseph sorts out the seeds ready for planting. Bottom right: Young seedlings ready for planting!
Thank you for your support!

Batian Level Donors ($50,000+)
Minara Foundation, International Tree Foundation, The US Fish and Wildlife Service, Friends of the Nairobi Sailing and Sub Aqua Club, Friends Of Environment Conservation Trust, African Fund for Endangered Wildlife, CHASE Africa, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Eden Wildlife Trust.

Nelion Level Donors ($25,000+)
Timaflor, Tropic Air, Tusk Trust via the Safaricom Marathon, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Hugh Sloane, Zurich Zoo, Disney: Reverse the Decline, World Conservation Society, Tropic Air.

Lenana Level ($10,000+)
European Outdoor Conservation Association, Thin Green Line Foundation, David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Elephant Cooperation, BATUK, International Elephant Foundation, The Featherbys, Anonymous, Safarilink.

Coryndon Level (<$10,000 & in kind)
The Rufford Foundation, Bunson Travel, Cookswell Jikos, Mountain Club of Kenya, Kisima Farm,
Marania Farm, Ol Donyo Farm, Steve Strong, Friends of Africa International

Event Sponsors
Tropic Air, Safarilink,
Bayer, Dormans, KFC, CBA, Rift Valley Adventures, Ol Donyo,Agventure, Gundua, Sirai, Ol Pejeta, The Dip Station, Delia’s Ice Cream, Tambuzi, Raka Cheese, Hampton School, Highlands, Shimano, Borana, BAOA, BATU, BornFree, Ngare Ndare Fores Trust, Pelican Signs, Express Auto.
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, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Tambuzi Farm and One Stop.

Thank you to Morten Jensen and Sirimon Thomas for your generous voluntary time and assistance.

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

Donate via Virgin Giving
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