Mount Kenya and the Aberdare Range are adjacent mountain forests roughly 12 kilometres apart at their closest points. Between them, they host an estimated 5,465 elephants, an endangered species. Historically, on both mountains, elephants exit the forest frequently as they seasonally migrate between their traditional dispersal areas.
During their migrations elephants raid adjacent farms, threatening the lives and livelihoods of farmers. Loss of human lives has sometimes led to retaliatory killings of elephants. In Mount Kenya’s Imenti Forest, for example, 11 community members were tragically killed by elephants over a two-year period, with 11 elephants killed in retaliation. The Aberdare/Mount Kenya elephants, coupled with a population of 951 elephants in South Western Mau (where Rhino Ark also supports conservation) make up nearly 18% of Kenya’s elephant population.
To address the escalating crisis of human/wildlife conflict arising from a burgeoning human population in traditional elephant dispersal areas, Rhino Ark continues to spearhead the development and implementation a mix of innovative, long-term solutions. We completed construction and now maintain a 400-kilometer game-proof electric around the Aberdare Range, and are currently building a similar 450-kilometre-long fence around Mount Kenya. Other innovations include the design and construction elephant grids at vulnerable points where our fences cross public roads.
Securing the safe movement of elephants from these mountain forests to other dispersal area is also a key priority for Rhino Ark. Solutions implemented to date with partners include fenced elephant corridors, wildlife underpasses and one-way automatic elephant gates.
We are actively protecting elephants through forest patrols undertaken by our community scouts. These patrols help detect and address illegal human activities and remove direct threats to elephants, such as snares and spear traps. We also participate in and support elephant censuses every three years in each of these ecosystems.
We also provide a platform for stakeholders to constructively engage to continually address emerging issues and explore effective solutions.