Jun 23, 2016
Saracens Players Climb Mount Kenya In Aid of Space For Giants
Saracens 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 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 players reached the Lenana summit at 4,985m, despite the challenges of the high altitude and difficult terrain.
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 Saracens' Global Network partners 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.
Poaching is a real issue in Africa. 100,000 African elephants were killed by poachers between 2010 to 2012, which is equivalent to almost 100 African elephants killed every day or one killed every 15 minutes. These losses are driving declines in the world’s wild African elephant populations to the order of 2-3% a year.
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.”