Star rugby players reach summit of Mount Kenya with the Aviva Premiership trophy to help combat elephant poaching
Five Saracens players reached the summit of 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 the elephant conservation charity, Space for Giants.
The team, which included Jim Hamilton, Mike Ellery, Rhys Gill, Nils Mordt and Ben Ransom, hiked 50km over 4 days, reaching the summit on the 11th June. All five Saracens players reached the Lenana summit at 4,985m, despite being challenged by the high altitude and difficult terrain.
Max Graham, CEO of Space for Giants, said “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.”
On the 12th June, Space for Giants, alongside African Speakers and Artists Ltd, co-hosted Giants 6s – a tournament of touch rugby played by local Kenyan rugby teams including Impala Saracens, Harlequins and the Kenyan Barbarians, held at Peponi House School.
The event helped to engage local children on the issues of elephant poaching and conservation, as well as international sport. During the event, children from a number of schools and rugby clubs across Nairobi, including Shamas Rugby Foundation, were given coaching sessions by the Saracens players.
Funds raised from the climb will go towards tackling poaching and implementing key elephant 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.
Max Graham, CEO of Space for Giants said: “We are incredibly grateful to the Saracens players for their efforts in spreading awareness and raising funds to help secure a future for elephants and the landscapes they depend on. It has been an amazing week and we feel very privileged to have their support.”
Climb for Giants is an extraordinary adventure to support a critical cause – combating the elephant poaching crisis. To find out more about poaching please go to: Elephants Facts and Figures
We would like to thank Saracens Rugby Club and Ian Ascough and the Saracens players for their kind support and helping to make Climb for Giants possible!