The Rhino Charge Committee and the Rhino Ark Board of Directors have cancelled this year’s Rhino Charge, scheduled for 19 October, for the first time in the 31-year history of the event.
The cancellation is due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing associated risks. The next Rhino Charge will therefore be held on Sunday, 30 May 2021.
“This decision has been taken with great regret,” comments Christian Lambrechts, Executive Director of Rhino Ark. “Funds raised by the Charge provide a vital part of our annual budget and our work, which is so critical for the conservation of Kenya’s mountain forests and water towers. It is essential that our work continues without interruption.”
Lambrechts says, “The Rhino Chargers have been remarkable benefactors for Rhino Ark over the years. They have invested over KShs 1.6 billion in conservation and have helped build 650 kms of electric fence.”
These fences protect 80,000 families from the dangers of human-wildlife conflicts in the Aberdares, Mount Kenya and Mau Eburu. They also protect critical mountain forests that are the water towers of Kenya.
They are the source of major rivers that provide the much-needed water to Nairobi, one of the key contributors to Kenya’s GDP. These rivers support the livelihoods of millions of households in the rural areas. They are also the lifeline of key conservation and tourism areas downstream.
“Keeping our fences well maintained and fully operational is critical for the communities farming at the forest edge, the conservation of these vital ecosystems and for securing the ecological services they provide in support of our well-being and our economic development,” said Lambrechts.
Adding that: “The challenge today is to ensure that the cancellation of the Rhino Charge – Rhino Ark’s core fundraising event – does not jeopardise the conservation gains made over the past 31 years. We need support from government, donors, the private sector and the people of Kenya as never before, as our conservation work benefits Kenya at large.” says Lambrechts.
“While the cancellation of the 2020 Charge is a massive disappointment to us and all who had hoped to take part, the health and safety of the competitors, supporters, officials and local communities amid this global crisis is paramount.” says Rhino Charge Committee Chairman, Don White.
“Planning is already underway for the 2021 event – which will be the best Charge yet. Details of the 2021 entry process, including pledges and funds raised to date, as well as sponsorship opportunities, will be shared with Chargers and Sponsors on the Charge website in the coming weeks.”