The Cause

The Rhino Charge is an off-road motor sporting event to raise support for Rhino Ark, whose mission is to raise funds and material support to build and maintain an electrified fence to encircle both the Aberdares National Park and the demarcated forestry areas which make up the Aberdares Conservation Area.

The late Ken Kuhle and Rob Combes were the founders of Rhino Ark. Ken, alarmed by the threats the Aberdares during the elephant and rhino poaching crisis in the 1980s, formed Rhino Ark to tackle this. His idea to build an electric fence along the Salient would keep poachers out while keeping the wildlife in and preserving one of Kenyas most important water catchments. The challenge of raising these funds to build the fence was successfully overcome through the novel idea of the off roading event dreamt up by the late Rob Combes and Brian Haworth. Over the past 20 years the Rhino Charge has raised the funds to complete another section of this fence. To date the Rhino Ark has raised over 6.5 million US dollars (over 500 million shillings) to date.

The Event

The Rhino Charge is an off-road event to raise funds for the Rhino Ark Charitable Trust. The event is held in a different remote location each year. Competitors are supplied with a 1:50,000 scale map of the venue and co-ordinates of the 13 Control Points and their Start position (at one of the Controls). Competitors plot a course that routes through 13 points scattered over approximately 100 square kms of rough terrain. On the day they must visit all 13 points within a 10 hour period and the competitor who visits the most controls in the shortest distance is the overall winner. Only 60 entrants can compete, and for obvious reasons the highest value fundraisers are favoured in this popular event. Mileage is deducted from a vehicle according to the sponsorship raised placing them better in the overall results.

Aberdare Electric Fence

The 400km long electric fence around the Aberdare Ecosystem is now complete, encompassing the area of over 2,000 square kilometers, including the final section of the Kipipiri fence which was commenced in 2008. The final post was set in October 2009. Significant funds need to be raised to ensure the long-term protection of this area through the maintenance and upkeep of the fence. This including wildlife monitoring by rangers within the boundary, fence clearing, repairs and flood damage. Personnel, communications and solar power for fence electrification. A master strategy document is currently in preparation but an annual target of $400,000 dollars per year needs to be raised to ensure this fence survives and that the previous 20 years of fundraising effort is not wasted. The fence must never be torn down to snare the wildlife it is designed to preserve, therefore the support raised from the competitors in the Rhino Charge of 2010 will go through Rhino Ark to cover costs towards this next phase.

 

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