Mount Kenya Trust (MKT) was established in 1999 amidst growing concern for the forested expanse surrounding Africa’s second highest mountain. Extensive poaching of wildlife, logging of indigenous tree species, overgrazing and large scale growing of marijuana was and still is today decimating the priceless national forest.
The World Heritage Site Commission recognised the area as an UNESCO site and describes it as “one of the most impressive landscapes of Eastern Africa, with its rugged glacier clad summits, Afro-Alpine Moorlands and diverse forests, which illustrate outstanding ecological processes.”
The forest zone is the largest single contiguous forest remaining in Kenya and is a biodiversity hotspot. It is also an ecological transition region that links Mt. Kenya with the arid flat savannah lands of northern Kenya (Samburu and Laikipia). It is uniquely situated between state owned forest reserves, private conservancies and community owned rangelands.
The forest is a vital link for the movements of elephants through the area with Laikipia having Kenya’s second largest free ranging population after Tsavo (Vanleeuwe, 2000; KWS & KFS 2008; LWF, 2012), comprising of 6000+ individuals ranging over a total area of 7000km2 (KWS, 2012). The site provides an immense wealth of biodiversity – including 81 endemic plants. It is home to species of IUCN concern; African elephant, leopard, giant forest hog, mountain bongo and Harvey’s Duiker.
PHOTO CREDIT: Lucy Booth
KWS and KFS, (2008) Mount Kenya Integrated Ecosystem Management Plan 2009 – 2019. KWS & KFS. Nairobi, Kenya.
LWF (2012). A Wildlife Conservation Strategy for Laikipia Country (2012-2030): First Edition, 2012. Laikipia Wildlife Forum, Nanyuki, Kenya.
UNESCO, (2012). Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention. WHC.05/2, 1 February 2012. Paris: UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
Vanleeuwe, H., (2000). Habitat use and movements of the Mt. Kenya Elephant population. Unpublished PhD. Thesis.