Article originally printed in the 2020 Conservation Issue of the Journal of the Elephant Managers Association

Mount Kenya Trust: Conservation strategies to protect elephants

Becky Summers and Susie Weeks, Mount Kenya Trust, Kenya

IEF has supported Mount Kenya Trust’s Mounted Horse Patrol Team since 2014. You can sponsor their efforts to protect the UNESCO World Heritage Site through IEF and the IEF Website page.

Communities and elephants live in close proximity around Kenya’s highest peak, Mount Kenya. Much work is put into protecting both people and wildlife from conflict including fencing, gates and research.

The Mount Kenya Trust (MKT) works with local people, government agencies and development partners for the conservation of the unique natural resources of Africa’s second-highest mountain. The Trust has been working around the mountain for over 20 years on a range of projects including:

  • Forest restoration
  • Wildlife conservation
  • Water management
  • Community development

Human–elephant conflict (HEC) is one of the greatest challenges to wildlife management today and is defined by the IUCN/SSC African Elephant Specialist Group as “any human–elephant interaction, which results in negative effects on human-social, economic or cultural life, on elephant conservation or on the environment.”

Small scale agriculture, along with large scale land conversion, are pressurising wildlife habitat, diminishing the balance of coexistence and threatening lives of both humans and wildlife. These issues are more pronounced in highland areas such as Mount Kenya, where plentiful rain and rich soils mean agricultural activities are intense. Combined with intrusion into elephant protected habitat through grazing, charcoal burning, farming, and road construction, more people are moving into the areas where wildlife were once free to roam.