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Aviva Premiership trophy to be taken to the summit of Mount Kenya by champion rugby players to raise funds for elephant conservation

habitat-mt-kenya
Mount Kenya, Africa’s second-highest mountain

Press Release

Five Saracens players will be climbing Mount Kenya, the second-highest mountain in Africa, carrying the Aviva Premiership trophy which was won by Saracens this season, in an effort to raise awareness of the poaching crisis and funds for elephant conservation charity, Space for Giants. Saracens, who are based in North London, are the reigning champions of the Aviva Premiership and the current holders of the European Rugby Champions Cup.

Former Namibia captain and Saracens flanker, Jacques Burger, who has recently retired from professional rugby, will be flying over Mount Kenya on the 11th June as the players reach the summit at close to 5,000 meters. The other Saracens players involved in the climb include Jim Hamilton, Mike Ellery, Rhys Gill, Nils Mordt and Ben Ransom.

“This is an opportunity for me to make a difference in my country and Africa as a whole, protecting something I feel strongly about. Nature is a part of who I am and I want my kids to be able to see wild elephants for themselves when they’re grown up,” said Burger. “The biggest challenge in protecting elephants is combating the poaching crisis and we need to address this urgently.”

Max Graham, CEO of Space for Giants, added “this is about the ‘giants of rugby’ protecting the ‘giants of Africa’. Having these formidable and inspiring players take on the challenge of climbing one of the highest mountains in the world, carrying a symbol of their recent achievement, takes us one step closer to achieving our goal – a world where elephants and the landscapes they depend on are protected forever.”

In April, Space for Giants hosted the Giants Club Summit in partnership with the Kenyan Government. The aim was to bring together African heads of state, business leaders, key influencers and conservation experts for the purpose of ensuring a future for elephants and the landscapes they depend on, forever. The summit was an historic moment in the world of global conservation with four Giants Club Presidents of Kenya, Gabon, Uganda and Botswana announcing major conservation interventions for the protection and management of their elephants.

Funds raised from the climb will go towards implementing these conservation interventions, which include the protection of elephants in the wild, the management of human-elephant conflict, and smart new ways to fund the maintenance of key elephant refuges – a ‘toolkit’ of methods pioneered by Space for Giants alongside partner organisations.

“Our aim is to unite many otherwise separate groups of people who together can accelerate progress in protecting Africa’s remaining elephants,” said Graham. “We need key influencers, such as these world-class rugby players, to see what we are doing and why, and then to spread the word about what they’ve learned to their followers. We are incredibly grateful to Saracens and the players for their support.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors
For further information, email media@spaceforgiants.org. Follow us on Twitter @SpaceForGiants, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SpaceForGiants. Social Media #TRYHarder #MakeSpaceForGiants

The Giants Club is an exclusive forum that brings together African Heads of State, global business leaders, and elephant protection experts to secure Africa’s remaining elephant populations and the landscapes they depend on. It was established by Space for Giants and its founding members are the Presidents of Kenya, Gabon, Botswana, and Uganda and Evgeny Lebedev, the owner of the ESI media group www.spaceforgiants.org/giantsclub

Space for Giants is an international conservation charity with more than a decade of experience facilitating the conservation and management of African elephants. Headquartered in Kenya, the charity focuses on developing and implementing front-line anti-poaching initiatives, securing protected landscapes for elephants, tackling human- wildlife conflict, providing local training and education for the next generation of conservationists and raising international awareness of the threats facing elephants today. “It is our mission to secure a future with elephants and the natural landscapes they depend on, for people, forever”: Max Graham, CEO, Space for Giants www.spaceforgiants.org

Saracens are the current Aviva Premiership and European Champions and are based at Allianz Park in North London. For more information please visit www.saracens.com