Reticulated giraffes reintroduced to Mount Kenya after 40 years of local extinction 

Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy (MKWC) in conjunction with Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club have announced the successful reintroduction of reticulated giraffes back to the Conservancy after 40 years. The six giraffes (2 male and 4 female) were captured from Lolomarik Ranch and translocated into the wild at Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy. The reticulated giraffe is one of the four species of giraffe. Kenya has three out of four species; the Masai, Reticulated, and the Northern (Rothschild/Nubian) Giraffe.

Dr Robert Aruho, Head of Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy, says: “Reintroducing the reticulated giraffe after 40 years of absence at the Conservancy is an important step towards restoration of the ecosystem of Mount Kenya for future generations. We are aiming at rekindling the giraffe conservation through community education as well, so as to empower local communities to benefit through opportunities that conservation of such flagship species brings.

(TOP: An image of giraffes being reintroduced back into the wild at Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy).

The reticulated giraffe used to inhabit the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy until 1984. Their ‘homecoming’ is a good gesture of the strides that MKWC is making in conservation and restoration of the beauty of the area and providing an opportunity for education among the visiting students and guests.

The numbers of the giraffe have been declining throughout Africa, and the global population has declined by 30%. There are currently about 117,000 giraffes around the world. In the last 3 decades, Kenya was home to more than 71,000 Masai giraffe, the number has now declined to 45,400. Similarly, and more concerning, is that reticulated giraffe numbers in Kenya have declined by almost 50% in the last 35 years from 36,000 to only 16,000. These declines are largely driven by human factors particularly loss of habitat due to human development enterprises and land use conversion.

Giraffes are the tallest land mammal and are very conspicuous. Their height advantage means that they can utilise part of the plant matters beyond the reach of other wildlife. This means they also act as seed dispersal agents and pollinators as they feed.

With a strong focus on community conservation, education, and empowerment programs, sustainable natural resource management initiatives are being put in place by MKWC and Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club to build a circular economy on the slopes of Mount Kenya.

Veronique Delattre, the GM of Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club comments: “Sitting within the conservancy makes us part of the conservancy’s mission. We are delighted to contribute, with the involvement of our guests. Together with the conservancy, we are working on a long-term view, where the circular economy is key not only to supporting the conservancy’s incentives, such as the Animal Orphanage, but also to inspire our guests and future generations.”

As part of this innovative circular economy project, Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, the hotel located within the Conservancy – allows guests from around the world to witness the beauty of the mountain, its forests, extraordinary glades and wildlife, whilst supporting the Conservancy in its development. Guests now have the opportunity to observe the giraffes evolving in their lush, natural habitat, situated only a few metres from the hotel, either on foot, by bike, or on horseback. 

“This giraffe introduction and various innovative projects we have in the pipeline depend on the continued generosity of donors and from guests of the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club. Without this, we simply cannot continue our vital work. We urge not just Kenyan citizens, but also travellers and nature lovers – indeed, anyone who appreciates the lasting positive impact for both mankind and the natural world – to support us in our ongoing conservation efforts,” adds Dr Robert Aruho, Head of Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy.

Planting trees is one such way that guests can show their support for the Conservancy. Each year, a mature tree produces enough oxygen for 10 people. Trees contribute to reducing the greenhouse effect by removing carbon dioxide from the air and releasing oxygen, whilst also providing habitat and food for the giraffes. Guests are encouraged to plant as many trees as will equal their carbon footprint, an activity the hotel will organise in the conservancy, together with the local community and with tree saplings bought from the Community Forest Association. Through this partnership with local communities, to date MKWC has involved 3,000 community members in planting over 35,000 indigenous trees of a variety of species in Mount Kenya Forest.

Separately, guests who stay at Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, whether coming for a retreat, wildlife tracking, mountain climbing, team building, conventions or events, will all be able to contribute to the Conservancy’s conservation efforts, as all fees are reverted to MKWC.

Visiting Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari club is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This retreat, with its connection to wildlife, was born in the 1960s as the dream of Hollywood celebrity, William Holden. The extraordinary countryside manor and its lush, manicured park is home to more than a hundred of species, including elephants, buffalos, endangered bongos, birds, gazelles, and warthogs.

Located and developed by MKWC, the Animal Orphanage is another key asset for wildlife conservation activities. The Animal Orphanage takes care of orphaned, abandoned and injured wildlife, with the aim of releasing them back into their natural habitat once achieve optimal health and full recover. In May 2023, the conservancy welcomed two lioness cubs who are benefitting from the expert care of a dedicated team of animal keepers and wildlife veterinarians.  A striped hyena, buffalo calf, bushbuck and other species have also recently been taken to the orphanage to benefit from the care of the experts on site.

Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy (MKWC) is a non-profit trust serving as a beacon of conservation with a purpose to inspire present and future generations to preserve and protect nature’s beauty and wildlife​. The Conservancy is located in Nanyuki, at the foot of the scenic Mount Kenya, a UN World Heritage Site. It is home to 28 different animal species, a population of roughly 1,200 different animals. The Conservancy supports its purpose through the ongoing breeding and rewilding of the critically endangered mountain bongo; providing expert care for orphaned, injured, and abandoned animals at the conservancy’s Animal Orphanage; and instilling a passion for conservation among local youth through community education programs.

Known as a historic Kenyan manor that housed the private club and hunting lodge for Hollywood actor William Holden. The property has, over the years, welcomed international celebrities and key opinion leaders of the world. Today, the hotel constitutes a large manor, with rooms that have amazing views of the peaks of Mount Kenya (the second highest peak in Africa after Kilimanjaro) as well as a variety of cottages which face the lush greenery of the golf course or the indigenous forest. In a shift of principles, it has been designated to push dedication in conservation efforts – in particular, the breeding and rewilding of endangered mountain bongo in their natural habitat, the forests of Mount Kenya. 

Guests to the luxury property pay a conservation fee that goes towards supporting the protection and preservation of the ecosystem and wildlife on the slopes of Mount Kenya; in particular, a breeding and rewilding programme for the critically endangered mountain bongo, reforestation initiatives and re-opening direct access from the property to Mount Kenya National Reserve to allow safe passage for animals such as elephants. MKSC, through the work of the conservancy, protects the ecosystem and ensures both guests and local communities can experience the beauty of the landscape and live in balance with wildlife.

A magical experience is available to guests and visitors of MKWC, by paying a visit to the paddocks and observing the mountain bongos as they interact with each other within their natural surroundings. Not to be missed is an elephant and bongo tracking experience in the heart of the Sanctuary with a conservationist to spot this magnificent, endangered antelope. Guests are also encouraged to leave a mark by planting trees which contribute to restoring the habitat of the mountain bongo as well as the various other species that call the conservancy home.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is where the intimate equally coexist with the infinite – an unrivalled portfolio of more than 80 extraordinary hotels where grand moments of life, heartfelt pleasures and personal milestones are celebrated and remembered long after any visit. Since 1907, Fairmont has created magnificent, meaningful and unforgettable hotels, rich with character and deeply connected to the history, culture and community of its destinations – places such as The Plaza in New York City, The Savoy in London, Fairmont San Francisco, Fairmont Banff Springs in Canada, Fairmont Peace Hotel in Shanghai and Fairmont The Palm in Dubai. Famous for its engaging service, awe-inspiring public spaces, locally inspired cuisine, and iconic bars and lounges, Fairmont also takes great pride in its pioneering approach to hospitality and leadership in sustainability and responsible tourism practices. Fairmont is part of Accor, a world-leading hospitality group consisting of more than 5,100 properties and 10,000 food and beverage venues throughout 110 countries.


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