Category Archives: News

The race to save the pangolin

Despite surviving 80 million years on the planet, this shy, gentle nocturnal ant and termite hunter is running out of time.

The poaching of elephants and rhinos for their horns and tusks is widely publicised, however it is the pangolin that is believed to be the world’s most illegally trafficked mammal.

Native to Africa and Asia, the pangolin is hunted at the rate of one every five minutes.  Highly prized in Vietnam and China for both its meat and the believed medicinal benefits of its scales, the pangolin is even used to make jewellery.

There are eight species of pangolin in the world, four Asian and four African – though fossil evidence suggests that they evolved in Europe. They are all now listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List as either Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered.

A global trade ban was introduced in 2016 and the pangolin has a dedicated awareness day in February each year.  In addition, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge in his role as Head of United for Wildlife, has thrown his weight behind the plight of the pangolin in a bid to halt the trade for good.

Despite this global spotlight the pangolin’s numbers continue to diminish.

The UK government is hosting an international conference to tackle the illegal wildlife trade. The conference in October this year, will see global leaders join forces to discuss the illegal wildlife trade and how they can better protect the world’s most iconic species from the threat of extinction.

Let’s hope it is in time to save this beautiful creature.

5 Facts about Pangolin

  1. Pangolin scales are made of keratin, just like our finger nails, and make up 20 per cent of their body weight.
  2. The word ‘pangolin’ comes from the Malay word ‘penggulung’, which means ‘one that rolls up’. When it is threatened a pangolin will curl itself into a tight ball, which is impenetrable to its natural predators. Sadly this doesn’t include human predators.
  3. The mammal can consume up to 20,000 ants a day. That’s about 73 million ants a year!
  4. Pangolins can close their ears and nostrils using strong muscles. This helps protect them from ant attacks.
  5. They have long, sticky tongues, which are often longer than their body. They also don’t have teeth, so can’t chew. Instead, they have keratinous spines in their stomach and swallow stones that help them grind up their food.

Click here to find out more about the race to save the pangolin.

The Nanyuki Mambas triumph on the slopes of Mount Kenya

One of the best-kept secrets on Africa’s adventure tourism calendar is the 10 to 4 Mt Kenya mountain Bike Challenge which raises money for the Mount Kenya Trust. Held annually since 2002, it is the major fundraiser for the Mount Kenya Trust conservation NGO which has since raised over $500,000 and has thus contributed to planting more than half a million trees, building and maintaining a 14km elephant corridor through farmland, returning over 450 hectares of bare land to indigenous forest and helped 50,000 Kenyans with health care.

Last year, under the radar, Vicky took part in what only can be described as the ultimate bike safari. Not only did she take part but she also won her race, the first female to finish the classic race  – quite an achievement!

This year we sponsored four local boys and girls from Nanyuki – the ‘NANYUKI Mambas’.

And more success came – this years ‘Queen of the Mountain’ was Joyce who was the overall female winner over the 2 day race and David and Joseph finished 8th and 9th in the mens race and Asmin 4th in the Rush – a brilliant achievement all round!

The 10 to 4 Mountain Bike Challenge

One of the best-kept secrets on Africa’s adventure tourism calendar is the 10 to 4 Mt Kenya mountain Bike Challenge which raises money for the Mount Kenya Trust. Held annually since 2002, when a small group of enthusiastic mountain bikers cycled from 10,000ft above sea level down to 4,000ft, it is the major fundraiser for the Mount Kenya Trust conservation NGO.

Since the 10 to 4 was established, over $500,000 has been raised to support the MKT in their work. This includes planting more than half a million trees, building and maintaining a 14km elephant corridor through farmland, two elephant underpasses, returning over 450 hectares of bare land to indigenous forest, tree nurseries nurturing hundreds of thousands of seedlings, and helped 50,000 Kenyans with health care and thousands of children understand conservation better.

    

Last year, under the radar, our Farside Africa Director Vicky Stirling took part in what only can be described as the ultimate bike safari. Not only did she take part but she also won her category and was the first female to finish the classic race completing 62km in around 4 hours – quite an achievement! Whilst out there she met some boys from Nanyuki who couldn’t afford to enter the race. It was too late for her to help them last year. So this year, along with a Kenyan friend, we are sponsoring two girls and two boys to compete in the race on the 9th & 10th February. The boys will compete in the Extreme race held over two days whilst the girls will take part in the Classic race held on the second day.

On day 1 they will cover about 90km facing an elevation climb of 2000m at high altitude with fast technical sections & single track. This is then followed by the Roller Coaster Classic on day 2. Starting at nearly 3000 meters, (10,000 feet), on the northern slopes of Mount Kenya, riders will descend some 70km over demanding terrain, through indigenous forest and wide open plains, abundant with wildlife, down to the Ngare Ndare Forest at 1940 meters, (6400 feet).

  

Our ‘NANYUKI Mambas’ team consists of David, Joseph, Joyce and Asmin who live in and around Nanyuki and we wish them the best of luck!

Please GET IN TOUCH if you would like to sponsor Farside Africa’s ‘NANYUKI Mambas’ team. Farside Africa has paid directly for the entry fees and team shirts so any extra funds raised will go directly to the Mount Kenya Trust.