However, it is surrounded by intensive development and agricultural use making it an ‘ecological island’ and placing huge pressures on its natural resources. These include illegal logging for building materials and fuel, bushmeat hunting and ivory poaching, and conflict between elephants and farmers.
The Mount Kenya Trust (MKT) works with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), local communities and others to protect the forests of Mount Kenya. It operates patrol teams which remove traps and snares, arrest poachers and loggers, and fight forest fires. The Joint Wildlife Protection Team (JWPT) also consists of armed KWS rangers, while the Horse Patrol can reach inaccessible areas and is very effective at catching offenders. A restored elephant corridor – including an underpass beneath a major road – re-connects the local elephant population with traditional migration routes and other populations. Meanwhile, two-strand electric fences in key areas have significantly reduced human-elephant conflict and improved local support for conservation. Tree planting schemes help to restore forest that has been lost, and school visits reach 2,000 pupils each trip. Health clinics in two remote areas give access to family planning advice and treatment, and other important medical services.
Through the Safaricom Marathon, Tusk has supported MKT annually with grants to cover operational costs of the JWPT and the Horse Patrol. A special grant in 2011 enabled the rebuilding of the accommodation and stables for the Horse Patrol.
Mount Kenya is a unique natural habitat facing complex and immediate threats. It is vital that the work of the MKT continues to protect it.