More than 150 wildlife ranger teams across Africa’s conservation communities unite to take part in a physically challenging race to raise money for organisations that have been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Africa’s communities and wildlife, rangers across the continent see little relief on the horizon. The elimination of essential funding for wildlife protection that comes from tourism and an increase in poaching has put immense pressure on Africa’s protected areas and threatens to compromise decades of development and conservation success. 

This year, the Wildlife Ranger Challenge brought together more than 150 ranger teams across 20 African countries to participate in a series of mental and physical challenges, culminating in the 21km half marathon on September 18. These challenges allowed rangers to showcase their important work and provided a platform for their organisations to generate funding. 

Mount Kenya Trust (MKT), a conservation group dedicated in their efforts to preserve the forest, water, and wildlife surrounding Africa’s second highest mountain, was one of the lucky organisations that participated this year. The Joint Wildlife Protection Team, the ranger team chosen to represent MKT, performed exceptionally well in the challenges, coming in sixth in the pushup competition and second in the sit-up competition. On Saturday, September 18, the Joint Wildlife Protection Team strapped on their 22kg kits and tackled the 21km half marathon. With the enthusiastic support of other MKT ranger teams, they finished in just three hours and 12 minutes. 

At MKT, we’re thankful for the opportunity that the Wildlife Ranger Challenge provided us with to exhibit the hard work of our dedicated rangers. Participating in these challenges with other ranger teams across the African continent was a great reminder that although we may live in vastly different regions thousands of kilometers apart, we share a common goal: to preserve and protect the precious, beautiful wildlife of Africa. 

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