After raising KES 7.5 million in last year’s event, the seventh edition of the annual Cycle with the Rhino race is all-ready to hit the KES 20 million mark this year as arrangements get underway for the contest which will kick off at Lake Nakuru National Park on September 17. The event has raised a total of KES 25 million to date.

The race aims to collect funds for the rehabilitation of Lake Nakuru National Park’s 74 KM baboon-proof electric fence as well as support ongoing community-based conservation projects to protect the fragile ecosystem.

Last year’s event attracted more than 62 cyclists including 25 children. The 64 KM race is a punishing duel that pushes man and machine to the edge. Participants cycle within the park and through the neighbouring community up to the agricultural town of Nakuru.

Last year the event organisers introduced 3 race categories; for children, juniors and adults (professionals) which may continue this year. So far, 18 KM of the baboon-proof electric fence have been erected since the cycling event began in 2003.

The fence is expected to significantly reduce human-wildlife conflict and bring down the number of road accidents on the Nairobi-Nakuru highway facilitated by crossing wildlife.

Lake Nakuru National Park is under threat from increasing urbanisation, pollution, and land degradation. Recent years have seen a decline in water levels and a loss of biodiversity as a result of deforestation in Mau, Eburu and Bahati forests.

Researchers warn that, if the current trend is not checked, this important ecosystem which was designated a bird sanctuary in 1961 and declared a Ramsar site (protected wetland) in 1990 for the protection of migratory waterfowls, may be no more 8 years from today.

The cycling event is one way to ensure this does not happen and the park can continue enjoying its world status as a bird watchers’ paradise due to its millions of flamingos.