Rhino Ark Patrons, Charles Njonjo and Lord Aberdare from the U.K flagged off the Aberdare Fence Relay Run/ Royal Jubilee Year near Treetops at 10.00am on Tuesday, 12 June.
The relay – the third since the completion of the electrified fence constructed round the Aberdare mountain range – will involve over 600 children from schools near the periphery of the 400km long fence. The relay emphasizes the importance of the fence in protecting Kenya’s forest environment. It finishes on 26 June.
This year, the relay also commemorates the Royal Diamond Jubilee, marking Queen Elizabeth’s 60th year on the British throne. The Aberdares has special significance to Queen Elizabeth, as Treetops Lodge is where as a Princess, while visiting Kenya, she became Queen in 1952 on the death of her father, George VI.
Lord Aberdare read out a message from the Queen that stated:
“I am delighted that The Rhino Ark is holding this event to share the celebration in commemorating the Diamond Jubilee marking the 60th Anniversary of My Accession to the Throne. As a mark of sincere friendship and good will, I send you my warmest greetings and best wishes for the forthcoming year.”
Also at the event, were three representatives from Aberdare in Glamorgan, Wales, two of whom ran in the first leg of the relay.
Future plans for support for local schools were announced at the event by the Welsh-based charity School Children for Children, cementing the relationship between schools near the Aberdares in Kenya and Aberdare in Glamorgan, Wales.
Last month, the Prime Minister of Kenya, Raila Odinga launched The Aberdare Trust. The Trust is a public /private project that will manage the Rhino Ark Aberdare Fence and play an active role in best practice management of the Aberdare Ecosystem.
Aberdares was Rhino Ark’s first project and the Aberdare fence encircles over 2000 km2 of state protected area. In December 2010, Rhino Ark announced its prime forward conservation thrusts of comprehensively fencing Mt Kenya and Mau Eburu. Work began in May 2012 on the mammoth task of fencing these two major ecosystems.