This year's Rhino Charge raised a remarkable ksh 77,311,364 (£540,000), beating last year’s figure of ksh 72,540,232 by ksh 5 million to secure another all time record. The money raised will go towards two new projects; comprehensively fencing the Mt. Kenya and Mau Mt. Eburu forest blocks which will be Rhino Ark’s prime conservation thrusts from 2011 onwards, along with its partner, the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).
Winner of the event was the Mark Glen/ Bryn Llewellyn team, winners in 2009 with a distance of 42.2km more than the straight line distance of just under 30km. This was 'an outstanding achievement considering the extremely rugged, rock strewn, steep and hill sided course,' said Clerk of the Course Anton Levitan. Of the 65 registered entrants, 58 took part and 22 managed to complete all 13 guard posts. Unfortunately, two entrants were forced to withdraw when their vehicles were held up due to severe shipping delays in Durban port. The exciting event lived up to all expectations for the entrants, who were flagged off at 7.30 am from the spread of guard posts scattered through the hills of Yatya. In a tough contest at the gauntlet, Car 22 of Gray Cullen took first position with a distance of 1.91km. Second position went to Manee Choda of Car 6 with a distance of 1.97km, and third place was Mark Glen of Car 48 with a distance of 2.04km. Best-placed overseas entrant was Peter Castle of Car 14 with a distance of 46.6km, placing 20th overall in the event.Castle’s team was awarded the Spirit of the Charge trophy for bringing their car from Zambia to compete in the event. Castle is the founder of Zambia’s Elephant Charge, which is modelled on the Rhino Charge.
Rhino Ark Patron, Charles Njonjo, former Attorney General of Kenya, and the Director of KWS, Julius Kipng’etich, joined the MP for Baringo North, Hon William Cheptumo and Assistant Minister for Justice, Constitutional Affairs and National Cohesion at the event and for the Prize Giving. The British High Commissioner, Rob Macaire, also took part by competing for the first time with David Bromham and Michael Turner in Car 15, a Toyota FJ 15. Conservationists William Kimosop of Baringo and Dr Paula Kahumbu of Wildlife Direct and the Kenya Land Conservation Trust spoke of Baringo’s successful efforts to develop conservancies in the area to create an accelerating new source of income for communities living in the arid North Rift.
Speaking during the function, Julius Kipng'etich said the Rhino Charge was ‘Kenya’s own world unique’ fundraising event. It has raised over ksh 800 million for conservation over the years. He challenged more people and organizations to 'accelerate support' for the new initiatives in Mt. Kenya and Mau Mt. Eburu, which Rhino Ark and KWS are spearheading. He announced that the Kenya Government was fully committed to playing its part financially in these two major projects and in contributing to the urgent funds needed for the Aberdare Trust Maintenance Fund. Substantial specific support for both maintenance and new initiatives in Mt. Kenya and Mau Mt. Eburu are to be announced in the budget this month.
The Rhino Charge raffle, with over 150 prizes, was extremely successful in assisting the fundraising effort. The main prize - two Kenya Airways business class tickets to Rome - was drawn by Car 3. The camping fees, totalling ksh 2.4 million, was raised from entry fees into the venue. The funds will go to local development projects supervised by a local committee and the Rhino Ark Charitable Trust. Colin Church, Chairman of the Rhino Ark Management Committee, explained, 'From now onwards a major portion of the money raised by the Rhino Charge will go towards two new projects - fencing Mt. Kenya and Mau Mt. Eburu, one of Mau’s 22 forest blocks These projects are now Rhino Ark’s prime forward conservation thrusts from 2011 onwards. They will be undertaken in full collaboration with local communities living adjacent to these valuable mountain ecosystems.'
The Mt. Kenya fence will be at least 400 kilometres long - equal or possibly longer than the completed Aberdare fence - encircling over 2000 square kilometres of forest. The development will require ksh 1 billion to build and will be completed within five years, subject to a regular flow of funds. Mau Mt. Eburu will be 50 kilometres long at a cost of ksh 100 million and will encircle about 80 square kilometres of pristine forest, which is currently greatly endangered by illegal loggers. Already, the Kenya Forest Working Group and the Bill Woodley Wildlife Trust are undertaking significant conservation work in the Mt. Kenya area, with whom Rhino Ark also works closely with on aspects of the Bongo Surveillance Project. Mt. Kenya and Mau Mt. Eburu are strongholds of the critically endangered Eastern Mountain Bongo antelope.
Meanwhile the Rhino Ark remains committed to the Aberdares and will be completely involved in an overall ecosystem integritymaster plan for the long-term management of the Rhino Ark Aberdare fence. The Aberdare Trust is currently being created. It will be a public/private partnership in which Rhino Ark and the forest edge communities will be working alongside the Government agencies responsible for the conservation of the Aberdares and the management of the Rhino Ark fence. For more information visit www.rhinoark.org click here for Rhino Ark
The UK Rhino Charge will be held on September 11 2011
click here for full events listing