This year’s Rhino Charge, which was recently held in Nannapa Conservancy, Isiolo County, raised Sh153,499,914.
The results of the 31st edition of the Rhino Charge were announced during a colourful prize-giving ceremony attended by key personalities, including Wildlife Adviser Ali Kaka, representing the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife Hon Najib Balala, H.E. Rahul Chhabra, the High Commissioner of India to Kenya, H.E. Wycliffe Oparanya, the Governor of Kakamega County and Chairman of the Council of Governors, H.E. Dr. Abdi Issa, the Deputy Governor of Isiolo County, Mr. Julius Kamau, the Chief Conservator of Forests, Kenya Forest Service, and Mr. Simon Gitau, Assistant Director for Mountain Conservation Area, Kenya Wildlife Service.
Kenya Wildlife Service provided logistical support to the event, including managing KWS Guard Post.
The event was won by Mark Glen in Car 48 with a distance of 30.19 kilometres, followed by Mikey Hughes (Team Huzi) in Car 33 with a distance of 30.36 kilometres and, in third position, William Carr-Hartley in Car 42 with a distance of 31.8 kilometres.
The highest fundraiser was Peter Kinyua in Car 23, who raised Sh19,000,000. Kinyua is the Chairman of the Kenya Forest Service. In second and third positions were Adil Khawaja (Team AK44) in Car 44 with Sh17,000,003 and Stanley Kinyanjui (Team Magnate Chargers) in Car 62 with Sh15,015,499.
The Victor Ludorum, an award that takes into consideration both distance and fundraise, was won by Adil Khawaja (Team AK44) in Car 44.
Don White, Clerk of the Course, said: “The Rhino Charge is primarily a fundraising event for the conservation of Kenya’s prime mountain forests and key sources of water. Its overall mission is to work with leading Government agencies and other partners to secure these resources for the future of this nation and the well-being of the people of Kenya”.
The Land Access Fee totaling Sh 4.7 million was raised from vehicle entry fees into the venue by all entrants. The funds will go to local conservation projects in the host conservancy.
The money raised during this event will go towards fencing Mt Kenya of which 190km has already been completed and fencing Kakamega Forest. The money will also be used to maintain and upgrade the 400km Aberdare fence of which over 50km have already been upgraded and to maintain the 43.3km Mau Eburu fence. Other conservation activities that will be supported by this Charge's fundraise, include conservation education and bio-enterprise development in South Western Mau, aerial surveillance in Mt. Kenya, Aberdares and South Western Mau, as well as building fire-fighting capacity in Mt. Kenya, Aberdares and Mau Eburu.
Since inception, event has raised a record Sh1.5 billion towards conservation of the water towers. Rhino Charge was primarily started to raise funds for the construction of the Aberdare electric fence. But based on its resounding success, the project has since been extended to Mt Kenya, the Mau Forests Complex and recently, Kakamega Forest. Apart from Kakamega, the rest are mountain ecosystems, which are the three largest water towers in Kenya.
The public private partnership framework, which has characterised the relationship between Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Water Towers Agency, Rhino Ark and local communities, has been a successful vehicle to bring sustainability in conservation efforts.
At the centre of this thriving partnership is the Rhino Charge, which remains a consistent key source of funding. Through the event, thousands of Kenyan citizens and companies and their friends overseas contribute to conservation activities. This is supplemented by funding from the government.