KSh7.5 million raised in 6th Cycle With The Rhino race
Date Published: 21 Sep, 2010
KWS Director, Julius Kipng’etich flags off cyclists during this year’s Cycle With The Rhino race. Over Sh.7.5 million was raised at the event. The money will be used for the erection of a baboon-proof electric fence around the Lake Nakuru National Park as well as implement community projects in conservation.
Over 7.5 million Kenya shillings was raised at the weekend during the 6th edition of the annual Cycle with the Rhino race at the Lake Nakuru National Park.
The money will be used for the erection of a baboon-proof electric fence around the park as well as implement community projects in conservation.
Flagged off by the Minister for Forestry and Wildlife Hon. Dr. Noah Wekesa, the event drew over 57 adult cyclists for the 64-km race within the park and through the neighbouring community as well as Nakuru Town.
Unlike previously, this year’s race had three categories: for children, juniors and adults (professionals). The children’s race attracted 25 participants.
The adults’ race was won by 26-year-old Samwel Mwangi, followed by John Njoroge, 25, while the third place was taken up by Suleiman Kangangi aged 21, all of whom were sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank, the event’s lead sponsor.
The first woman cyclist was Seline Atieno, 25, sponsored by Lake Lodge.
Speaking at the event, Dr Wekesa said Kenyans were facing adverse effects of climate change, including prolonged drought and extended rains. He called on Kenyans to conserve the environment as a way of mitigating some of the effects.
KWS Director Julius Kipng’etich said that besides being the country’s traditional agricultural basket, Nakuru town had great potential to emerge as a tourism hub for Kenya.
He pledged KWS support for the development of tourism potential in the newly-created counties.
So far, 18 km out of the 74 km of the baboon-proof electric fence has been rehabilitated since the cycling event was started in 2003. During this period, Sh25 million has been raised for the fence.
Mr Kipng’etich noted that human wildlife conflict and road crashes related to wildlife on the Nairobi-Nakuru highway had drastically dropped since a 10-km fence was erected two months ago by KWS in partnership with Soysambu Conservancy.
He further disclosed that KWS is negotiating with various conservancies to create a wildlife corridor between Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha, adding that the park’s 4000 buffalos had exceeded its carrying capacity and required more space.
He commended Forestry and Wildlife Minister for recently gazetting Lake Elementeita, laying ground for it to being declared a World Heritage Site.
Conceptualised in 2003, the unique and spectacular event aims to rehabilitate the 180-square kilometre electric fence and undertake community conservation education around the fragile Lake Nakuru National Park ecosystem.
Indeed, Nakuru town and the Lake Nakuru’s National Park’s sustainability is highly threatened by the increasing urbanization, pollution, land de-gradation, decrease in quality and quantity of water in the lake and loss of biodiversity, as a result of deforestation in Mau, Eburu and Bahati forests. Consequent research has shown possible danger in losing this important ecosystem within the next 8 years, if matters remain the same! Cycle with a Rhino is one of the initiatives that have been developed to curb the degradation of this ecosystem.
Standard Chartered Bank Kenya led the way as corporate sponsors for the 2010 event, donating Sh2 million. Other key sponsors included Safaricom, Kenya Commercial Bank, Gilgil Telecommunications, Kenya Airways, Geothermal Development Corporation, UUNet and WWF-the global conservation organisation.
Fact file on Lake Nakuru National Park
The park was designated a bird sanctuary in 1961, extended up to 6000 ha in 1964 and the 63sq km gazetted in 1968.
It was extended to its current size of 188sq km in 1974 through funding from the World Wide Fund for nature (WWF). Due to rising poaching, it was established as the first State-managed rhino sanctuary in 1984, later granted rhino sanctuary status in 1987 and declared Ramsar site (protected wetland) in 1990 for the protection of migratory water fowls
The park’s chain link fence was erected in 1976 and the electric fence in 1987.
On August 10, 2005, the park was branded as a “Bird Watcher’s Paradise” famous for its display of over 1.5 million Flamingos. It was declared one of the Important Bird Areas by the Africa last year.