#MountainDispatch News Updates



Another year of conservation complete and another has begun in earnest.

Tree planting is at a record high, as we turn brown degraded, open areas into a patchwork of indigenous trees. In decades to come, these will grow into rich forests, and with our partners we will be proud of our green slopes.

Elephants are now using the new one-way elephant gates in the Imenti Forest Reserve. Conscious that elephants were getting shut out of the Imenti Reserve once new fences were put in place, we worked with our partners on a way of letting them back in after long safaris to Samburu county. These gates are the very first of their kind… read more below!

In December, KWS officers and our MKT team leaders benefited from a scene of crime management and prosecution refresher run by KWS and funded by MKT.

As always, we thank our supporters and those who are there for us no matter what, protecting the mountain ecosystem and caring for the wildlife, forest and people as much as we do. The MKT team are passionate about their work and having this support just motivates us further to keep growing and keep making a significant impact.

Early last year, we bid a fond farewell to two of the original founding Trustees, Levi Wendo and Martin Forster, who retired from the Board. We thank them for their many years of service and dedication to the Trust and now welcome two new Directors, Sophie Kinyua and Robert Kariuki, to the team.

Susie Weeks, Executive Director.


Elephant Corridor hotspot fencing
Reinforcement to the corridor, including beehives, will begin in early 2019 to prevent fence breaking elephants moving out into the farmlands.

Mountain Bongo research and development
With a range of partners, we hope to develop plans to protect and reintroduce more bongo onto the mountain.

New base at Ragati Conservancy
Will be built to aid the bongo protection and cover an additional area of threatened forest with our partners, to expand the MKT reach to the southern edge of the mountain.

A Tribute to Mount Kenya – May 2019
Our UK Board will be hosting their first event ‘A tribute to Mount Kenya’ on the 16th May 2019 at The Conduit. Please contact uk for more information.

Base improvements for JWPT
A chilly place is the mountain be to live, therefore team bases will be clad to keep in the heat.

Mt Kenya Trail Run
A new event – watch this space!

Expansion of Community Health
16 new health mobilisers will be added to our team, bringing us up to 31 mobilisers in the field, reaching more patients and women in more remote locations.

The Joint Wildlife Protection Team base at Ruthumbi Forest Station from the air. Completed in 2017 we have been making improvements ever since, installing solar power in 2018. The steel uniports will be clad this year.
One Way Elephant Gates

We are constantly looking at ways to make elephants and people on the mountain safer. Imenti is a key hotspot area where large concentrations of elephants (as seen above crossing the Meru road) live alongside intensive human settlements. This often leads to conflict.

One way elephant gates into the Imenti Forest Reserve were installed as part of an original project that, as far as we know has never been tried or tested before.

The gates are built into the Rhino Ark fenceline, and allows elephants outside the Reserve to move in, but not out. This prevents elephants becoming trapped outside in the farmlands, but also stops them heading out to crop raid at will.

The system works from a solar powered station and is operated by an ‘eye in the sky’ trigger sensor. When something taller than human/cattle walks past the censor, the double gates are triggered to open. The gates can also be opened with a remote control.

Elephant are now using the gate to enter the Reserve. We assume that the elephant would have broken the forest fence line elsewhere or are migrants from the north, all are males.

Tweaking issues are required such as reducing the use of the gate by community members and making sure the cameras just recognise elephants and not other livestock. Watch this space!

Reducing human-wildlife conflict, one fence at a time! This film features our Naro Moru Fencers.
Thanks to our awesome partners, Routes, for our new films. Check these out on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

We have been blown away with the support for Charles at Naro Moru Primary School to enter the 10to4. We have raised over £1,000 for his entry, a bike, clothing, AMREF and we can also include his brother to ride alongside.

Any additional funds will be put toward Charles’s school to buy books or other equipment for his class. Thank you, thank you for your support!

Meet Charles…!

Camphor used to be a magnificent part of the mountain canopy and ecosystem. Through time, selective logging removed up to eighty percent of the camphor on Mt Kenya. Even finding seeds and propagating the seedlings is extremely rare.

But our Forestry Officer, Joseph Ngaira, managed to find some! Camphor seedlings were discovered at a small group in near Embu, and these were collected and planted, alongside our partners at FOECT at Ruthumbi forest station. A total of 10,000 indigenous seedlings were planted at the site and of these 1,506 camphor seedlings were planted.

East African Camphor – Did you know?

Ocotea usambarensis is a large tree, 3.5-36 (max. 45) m high with a spreading crown and stem diameter of (min.1.25) 3.75-9.5 m. Bole straight, slightly fluted, buttressed at the base, unbranched for 9-15 m. Bark grey or reddish brown, much fissured, granular, scaly and flaking off in small round patches or thick squares; slash white or faintly pink with a characteristic sweet scent.

ECOLOGY: O. usambarensis is found in diverse mountain forest associations, the so-called ocotea forest. The tree is distributed throughout East Africa and common in wetter forests. Where it occurs naturally, there is a distinct dry season of 2-3 months, but with mist or clouds present throughout the year. It is found mainly in Kenya and Tanzania and sparsely in Uganda. In Kenya, it occurs on the moist slopes of the Aberdares, Mt Kenya, Taita Hills and Nyambene; it was once a dominant tree in the wet forests of these areas but is now rare everywhere. The trees on Mt Kenya were harvested for firewood, charcoal but mainly timber used for furniture railways, joinery, panelling and building.

Julius Kimani, Paul Sherwen and Mukesh Shah

With heavy hearts, we recognise the passing of Julius Kimani, Paul Sherwen and Mukesh Shah, three great supporters of the Trust’s work and amazing individuals who will be sorely missed.

JULIUS KIMANI Kenya Wildlife Service Director of Parks and Reserves died suddenly after complications in hospital in December last year. He was a man of integrity; a conservationist who understood the importance of boots on the ground and the men on the front line. He served the KWS through thick and thin for over 30 years. Julius was fond of the Mount Kenya Trust and always gave us the support we needed. A tragic loss to his family, friends the KWS and our country. Thank you Mzee for your unwavering support.

PAUL SHERWEN was a patron and long time supporter of the 10to4 Mountain Bike Challenge. As highly regarded commentator of the Tour De France, his professionalism and experience was a huge asset to the event, never missing a single one, and his absence at the event will be evident to all involved.

MUKESH SHAH was a huge advocate of MKT tree planting projects, alongside his organisation Friends of Environment Conservation Trust, committed to planting one million trees on the mountain over the next few years. Mukesh will be remembered in the thousands of trees he helped to plant on Mt Kenya.

Our thoughts are with Julius, Paul and Mukesh’s families and we thank and remember them for all their work and passion to protect Mt Kenya.

‘I have nine children and I don’t want more. I almost lost my life when giving birth to my last born and I don’t want this to happen again,’ expresses Kanana.

Kanana was referred to our clinics by our CHV. She received an IUD. The 41 year old is a subsistence farmer and she is also a beneficiary of the MKT TELIS (trees establishment and livelihood improvement scheme) of the Lower Imenti Forest, Mount Kenya Reserve (CHASE Africa supported). She was grateful for the services as the nearest government hospital that can offer the long-term method is a level 5 hospital. This would cost her, transport, and registration fee amounting to 800KSh ($8). Being a low-income earner, this is too expensive for her to afford.

With our partners CHASE Africa, we run monthly outreaches and organise mobilisers in four counties around Mt Kenya (Meru, Kirinyaga, Embu and Tharaka Nithi) that are working with the Ministry of Health and local communities, to extend the reach of health care services to those living in remote regions, close to the mountain border.

60+ CLIMB raises 500,000+ KSH!

Being on the mountain for 7 days, having time to explore off the beaten track was definitely a fantastic experience! The 60+ team reached Lenana peak and raised over half a million shillings for the Trust! What an achievement!

Mount Kenya is a nature gem but again, if we don’t take care of it now it won’t last long… We should never forget that and continue to support the ones who know how to protect it!

Stay tuned for 2020 mountain plans…!

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for supporting us with so much enthusiasm.
Without you, this project wouldn’t have been the same.

THANK YOU for your generosity!

All proceeds will be shared between the Mount Kenya Trust Horse Patrol Team (90%) and the Mount Kenya Rescue Team (10%)

Supporting ranger salaries (USD$20,000 per year) and rations ($5000 per year), along with gaps in funding for the horse feed ($3,000 per year), vet care ($2-4000 per year) and stable repairs ($1000 per year).

Until next time –
Mount Kenya 60+ team

Anne Tissier, Lucy Booth, Joan Dickie.

Thank you to all of our 10to4 sponsors – the event simply couldn’t run without the generous support of so many:
Thank you for your support!

Batian Level Donors ($50,000+)
Minara Foundation, CHASE Africa, 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, 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.

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

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

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 for her time and support.

Support via Virgin Giving