A ceremony to commission two newly completed elephant grids at the Kipipiri elephant corridor and one at Kieni forest was held on 23 June 2011 at Geta in Kipipiri area. The grids have been fully funded by Safaricom Foundation at a total cost of Kshs. 4.6 million.
Les Baillie, Safaricom Foundation Chairman, formally commissioned the grids at the colourful ceremony that was attended by members of the local community. Partners Rhino Ark, Kenya Wildlife Service and Kenya Forest Service were well represented at the event.
The grids are metal and concrete structures built on the ground at the point where the Aberdare electric fence intersects public access roads that traverse the forest. At this intersection is a gap spanning the width of the road through which wildlife such as elephant and buffalo can pass. The innovative design of the grids incorporates rolling bars with gaps between them. They are highly effective in keeping the wildlife at bay, while allowing passage of vehicular and human traffic. The grids are an example of the safe, win-win type solutions that are characteristic of the Aberdare Fence Project.
“Elephant – indeed all wildlife use the corridor linking the main Aberdare range with Mt. Kipipiri. It passes through gazetted forest land but close to hundreds of fence adjacent farmers’ land,” explained Colin Church, Chairman of Rhino Ark at the commissioning ceremony as he thanked Safaricom Foundation for their generous support.
Safaricom Foundation has been a consistent supporter Rhino Ark’s conservation initiatives in the Aberdare ecosystem with almost Kshs.10 million donated to date.