Climbing Mt Kenya in support of the Mountain Bongo
In February 2019, a group of 6 hikers took on the challenge of climbing Mount Kenya, the second highest mountain in Africa, as a fundraising initiative led by Bench in support of the Mountain Bongo. The 5-day trek took the team up to the Lenana peak at 4,985m altitude.
The Bongo is the largest forest antelope and is classified as critically endangered, facing an extremely high risk of extinction with less than one hundred left in the wild in Kenya. The graceful animal is shy and reclusive, and only lives in a few pockets of highland forests in Kenya – Mt. Kenya, the Aberdares, and Mau Forest. The decline of the mountain bongo has been caused by habitat loss and illegal hunting with dogs. Disease (such as rinderpest) caught from grazing cattle is also thought to have been a significant factor in their historic decline.
We are delighted to announce that a total of $5,175 was raised and donated to the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy in support of the Bongo. The MKWC works to save this species through their breeding and repatriation programme, which currently has a herd or 72 bongos, growing the population to a size that can be reintroduced to the wild. As the current breeding area is not sufficient, their goal is to expand the breeding facility to an area where the bongos can be released to their natural range.
The funds raised for our Mt Kenya climb went directly towards the continued care and expansion of the Bongo herd and the building of a much larger sanctuary of prime Bongo habitat in the National Forest Reserve with a predator-proof fence, to allow the bongos to flourish and go back to the wild where they belong.
About the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy:
All the young bongo at the MKWC are raised with as little human interference as possible. The Conservancy has a team of trained and dedicated staff that keep a watchful eye as these new mothers are encouraged to raise their young in a relative natural environment.
They make sure that plenty of fresh browse is available for the animals as well as fresh water, minerals and other veterinary requirements are met when necessary.
Meanwhile a small group of mature bongo have entered an advanced stage towards rehabilitation. They are kept in a forest wilderness area where they encounter other wild animals. A natural stream provides fresh mountain water and the vegetation is the same as they will find after their eventual release.
The Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy’s Bongo Rehabilitation program was named amongst the three most important wildlife projects worldwide in 2006 (by AZA).
We are grateful to all our supporters the world over without whom this project could not progress. The success of this program is directly dependent on your sponsorship.