The cultural heritage, landscape and ecology of Mount Elgon are under threat with serious consequences for people both locally and regionally. There are many factors driving this, a key one being deforestation which impacts on the hydrology of the mountain and results in soil erosion, the loss of biodiversity and human-wildlife conflict. This is exacerbated by a fragile economic environment of low security and opportunity. Mount Elgon’s people and its rich biodiversity are largely being left behind in comparison with many areas of East Africa.
The aim of the Mount Elgon Foundation is to seek viable long-term measures that will help mitigate the challenges faced by Mount Elgon. More specifically, it wishes to:
• reduce human-elephant conflict, protecting people, their livelihoods and the elephants;
• prevent deforestation and promote reforestation;
• promote further recording and preservation of local cultural heritage, and
• provide alternative environmentally and culturally sensitive economic opportunities.
The Foundation in seeking to support both cultural and natural heritage objectives, also wishes to collaborate in its work with colleagues both in Kenya and Uganda.
The formation of the Mount Elgon Foundation came about through archeological research at Chepnyalil Cave, Mount Elgon National Park, Kenya (see banner photo) that brought two of the trustees together and led to further investigation of caves on the mountain to identify new sites to undertake archaeological digs. While looking for more caves to dig in, the extent to which the elephants use caves widely across the mountain started to become apparent.
A team of individuals and a group of institutional partners have come together to support the Foundation’s aims.
Banner: Chepnyalil Cave, Mount Elgon National Park, Kenya. Above: top left – members of the team deep in the Forest Reserve, Kenya; top right – community meeting led by Kenya Wildlife Service. Above group photo: Mount Elgon Foundation, MEEP, Kenya Wildlife Service, East African Wild Life Society and Elephant Crisis Fund personnel at a SMART training day, Mount Elgon National Park, Kenya. (Credits: Christopher Powles and MEEP.)