Kenya's government plans to construct an electric fence around Mt. Kenya, the highest peak in the country, to prevent elephants from straying and raiding crops in surrounding farmlands.

The fence, which will be about 400 kilometers (250 miles) long and 2 meters high, will have five electrified strands, and is designed to stop the wildlife on Mt Kenya from destroying crops on nearby farms.

The project is led by the Kenya Wildlife Service, with the full support of various stakeholders including Rhino Ark, Kenya Forest Service and the Mount Kenya Trust.

Stressing the necessity of this project, Mount Kenya Trust stated on its website that the fence will constrain increasing human-wildlife conflict and poverty in the Mt Kenya region, preventing the 2,000 elephants in the National Reserve from causing injury and even death to people while protecting their livelihoods.

Kenya Wildlife Service plans to complete the project in 5 years.

"It is going to encircle 2,000 square kilometers of indigenous forests on the mountain, and a source of many, many rivers and outflows in all directions from the mountains," Colin Church from Rhino Ark told the BBC.

Mt. Kenya, at 5,199 meters, is Africa's second highest peak -- the mountain and its forestlands were designated as a World Heritage site by Unesco in 1997.

The first phase of the fence's construction, which will be 50 kilometers long, already began in April and is expected to be completed by the beginning of 2014.

Kenya's Minister of Finance Njeru Githae is expected to drive a post into the ground to officially inaugurate the project on Friday.

Local communities will be asked to perform regular maintenance in order to keep the fence working at the optimum level.

BBC Africa analyst Martin Plaut said the scheme may seem wildly optimistic, but Rhino Ark has already fenced in the Aberdare mountains, which took 12 years to complete. In September of last year, a 400-kilometer electrified fence around Aberdare was finally built - Rhino Ark said it will help to protect the fauna and flora of the mountains while keeping outside influences out.

With government support and finance, Rhino Ark believes the Mt. Kenya project, expected to cost about $11.8 million, will not take as long to finish.

In recent years, as Kenya's human population has grown, the number of conflicts between beast and man have multiplies as the animals' habitats have been encroached upon. In June of this year, Maasai warriors speared and killed six lions which had entered their community looking for food. Such incidents have become alarmingly common.

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