Five Saracens players have taken their Premiership trophy on a climb of Mount Kenya to raise thousands of pounds for an elephant conservation charity backed by the Evening Standard.
Mike Ellery, 26, Rhys Gill, 29, Jim Hamilton, 33, Nils Mordt, 32, and Ben Ransom, 24, set off on the 50km hike on Tuesday, playing matches en route.On Saturday they are due to reach the 5,199m summit of Africa’s second-highest mountain.
The teammates are carrying the Aviva Rugby Premiership cup, won in Saracens’ final against Exeter Chiefs last month.
Aviva Premiership trophy to be taken to the summit of Mount Kenya by champion rugby players to raise funds for elephant conservation
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.
Rugby players led by Namibian Captain and Rugby legend, Jacques Burger, are heading to Kenya for a charity challenge.
The rugby players, which includes Mike Ellery, Rhys Gill, Jim Hamilton, Nils Mordt and Ben Ransom; will aim to hike 50km over 4 days, ascending 2,285M to 4,985M on Mt Kenya, coping with high altitude and carrying all their equipment, and finally at the summit they will play the first game of rugby at the peak to raise money for the protection of elephants.
Geographical: Conservation of threatened iconic species will be aided by the re-opening of Loisaba, a tourist operation in Laikipia County, Kenya
FT: At Loisaba, a 56,000-acre conservancy in central Kenya, they are betting the best ways to save elephants is to fatten cattle. Set up in the heart of the expansive Laikipia plateau 18 months ago by conservationists and a local rancher, its managers are taking a novel — and longer-term — approach to protecting the world’s largest land mammal in which tackling poaching is only a part of the solution.
“Just say we stop poaching,” says Max Graham, one of Loisaba’s founders and the chief executive of Space for Giants, an elephant protection organisation. “Then you’ve got all these elephants. How are you going to deal with them?”
Independent: Around 200 diners gathered on Wednesday night for the Giants Dinner, a fundraising event in aid of Africa’s elephants organised by Space for Giants and Saracens Rugby Club.
Independent: The best way to protect wild animals is for the people who live among them to benefit from conservation. Loisaba Conservancy is an example of this – it is a breathtaking 56,000-acre landscape in northern Kenya’s Laikipia County, which is being managed sustainably to conserve wildlife habitat and benefit local communities.
On April 29 – 30, Kenya will host the inaugural Giants’ Club Summit that will bringing together several African presidents, numerous conservation experts, eminent corporate leaders, high-profile philanthropists, and Hollywood figures to work towards the goal of developing a more cohesive, continent-wide response to the poaching of elephants and the trade in illegal-wildlife trophies.
The Star: The President will oversee the burning of 120 tonnes of ivory at Nairobi National Park on April 30, the largest stockpile to be destroyed at a go by any country.
This will be the climax of a summit involving heads of state, conservation experts, philanthropists and corporate leader including Richard Branson, that President Uhuru Kenyatta has set for April 29-30.
The aim of the summit to take place at Mount Kenya Safari Club in Laikipia is to develop a continent-wide response to illegal-wildlife trade.
“African leaders will use the opportunity to underline the global intent to put an end, once again, to the butchering of elephants and rhinos by selfish criminal gangs,” Uhuru said in a statement on Friday.
He noted that will be the first summit by the Giants Club, which he founded with the presidents of Botswana, Gabon, Kenya and Uganda.
“Together we will all play our part in preserving the planet’s greatest animals,” he said.
The Independent noted that the club was formed with the support of Kenya-based wildlife charity Space for Giants and patron Evgeny Lebedev, the owner of The Independent and London Evening Standard newspapers.