Since the mountain is well known for its biodiversity, geology and cultural importance it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Forest Reserve and National Park have a great diversity of habitats which harbour over 1000 plant species as well as several endemic plants, mammals, reptiles and chameleons. The status of a World Heritage Site confers certain obligations, one of which is to protect endangered or rare species from becoming locally extinct.
The Mount Kenya Forest Reserve/National Reserve and National Park are also an Important Bird Area (IBA) with 53 out of Kenya’s 67 African highland biome species and six of the eight species that make up Kenyan mountains endemic bird area. The avifauna is reasonably well known but there is little information on the seasonality, distribution and habitat requirements of some of the threatened species.
Forest wildlife includes but is not limited to Elephant, Mountain Bongo, Leopard, Cape Clawless Otter, Cape Buffalo, Bushbuck, Black-Fronted Duiker, Suni, Black and White Colobus and Sykes monkey. Black rhino have become extinct.
MKT work on a range of different projects to protect the wildlife on Mount Kenya.
Our ground-breaking Mount Kenya Elephant Corridor reconnects a 14 km elephant migration route between the mountain and the Samburu lowlands, dramatically reducing human-elephant conflict. It is a conservation success story serving both wildlife and people. Communities are better protected and the elephants are safer and free to migrate in search of food, minerals and mates.
Over 1,000 elephants used the route in 2019, via its underpasses under main roads, as well as bushbuck, duiker, jackal, leopard, zebra, porcupine, reedbuck, serval cat, spotted hyena, warthog and wild dog. Even a lost rhino wandered in! Global recognition came with the extension of the Mt Kenya UNESCO World Heritage Site to include the Ngare Ndare Forest Reserve and the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, thanks to the functionality of the corridor.
Our 6-strong Horseback Patrol Team
Our Joint Wildlife Patrol Team is a rapid response team that handles illegal activities on the mountain, headed by Edwin Kinyanjui, KWS Honorary Warden and Disney Conservation Hero (2017). Our Imenti Patrol Team tackles threats to the Imenti Forest Reserve, a once-neglected area that has been heavily logged and grazed, which we are now replanting with indigenous trees.
Our 5-strong Horseback Patrol Team covers vast distances on hardy Ethiopian ponies to monitor the forests and moorlands, with high altitude satellite camps extending their reach. Our Marania Guards were set up 20 years ago as a team of ex-poachers, working closely with the Kenya Wildlife Service for multi-day camping patrols to combat poaching.
HUMAN WILDLIFE CONFLICT MITIGATION
We have set up one-way elephant gates to ensure that elephants can safely re-enter the forest when migrating back to Imenti Forest, but cannot get out again except via the secure Northern Mt Kenya corridor. With the help of local communities and the Kenya Wildlife Service, we have built solar-powered electric fences along the western side of the mountain to protect farms from wildlife. We work closely with the Rhino Ark charity as they build a game-proof fence around the entire Mount Kenya National Reserve.
Our teams are frequently called out to assist with problem animals attacking livestock or people. We are setting up one-way elephant gates to ensure that stranded elephants can safely re-enter the forest, but cannot get out again except via the secure Northern Mt Kenya corridor.