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Sh 5 milion raised for this year’s cycle with the rhino
Date Published: 02 Sep, 2011
Ms. Anne Njambi, Corporate Affairs Manager Standard Chartered Bank presents a Ksh. 3 Million Cheque to Mr. Julius Kipng’etich Director KWS during the launch of 2011 Cycle With the Rhino event at the KWS headquarters, Lang’ata. Looking on is Mr. Michael Kipkeu, Senior Assistant Director Community Wildlife Service.
Sh5 million has been raised for this year’s edition of the Cycle with the Rhino event to be held later in two weeks time in Lake Nakuru National Park.
During the event’s official launch in Nairobi Thursday morning, key sponsors Standard Chartered Bank (Sh 3million), Coca Cola (1.2 million), Kenya Pipeline (Sh500, 000) and Safaricom, presented cheques to Kenya Wildlife Service Director Julius Kipngetich in Nairobi.
The event aims at raising Sh10 million this year for the conservation of the fragile Lake Nakuru National Park and its environs.
Speaking during the launch, Mr Kipng’etich said more sponsors were expected to come on board before the event is held on September 17, 2011.
He said tourism earnings from Lake Nakuru National Park are the key driver behind the fast growth of Nakuru Town and the overall national economy.
“Lake Nakuru is the jewel in the crown of Kenya’s tourism and Nakuru Town and its environs are the greatest beneficiaries. All the 44 banks are fighting for a share of the booming business environment in Nakuru as the fastest growing town in East and Central Africa,” Mr Kipng’etich said, calling on the local community to support the conservation of the fragile environment.
Kenya hosts 700 critically endangered black rhinos out of the world population of 4,200 individuals with Lake Nakuru National Park being the leading rhino sanctuary.
This year’s race will be preceded by a four-day road-show sponsored by Coca Cola.
The Cycle with the Rhino is a spectacular and unique cycling event held every September at the Lake Nakuru National Park and part of Nakuru Town. The money raised is used to rehabilitate Lake Nakuru National Park’s baboon-proof electric fence around the park as well as support community projects in conservation.
Last year’s edition of the cycling race raised Sh7.5 million and attracted over 57 adult cyclists for the 64-km gruelling race within the park and through the neighbouring community as well as Nakuru Town.
Unlike previous events, this year’s race has additional categories for children, juniors and adults (professionals) as well as boda boda cyclists.
Mr Kipng’etich said Nakuru town had a great potential to emerge as a tourism hub besides being the traditional agricultural hub for Kenya and pledged KWS support for the development of tourism potential in newly-created counties. “Vision 2030 development blueprint places tourism on the pedestal as a key driver in the economic pillar,” he added.
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.
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!
Lake Nakuru National 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 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 millions of flamingos under a KWS-driven national park branding programme. The park has also won international recognition as an Important Bird Area and World Heritage Site.