The Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy, in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife and other conservation stakeholders, commissioned the construction of the Mawingu Mountain Bongo Sanctuary, an 800-acre indigenous forest area on the slopes of Mount Kenya, above the Mt. Kenya Safari Club. The Sanctuary will enable the rewilding of the Mountain Bongo, a beautiful, elusive and coppery red antelope with white stripes and spiral horns found in the wild in Kenya.
The Mountain Bongo has been classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with its population in the wild having declined to less than 100 due to poaching, diseases and destruction of habitat due to human encroachment.
Tourism Cabinet Secretary, Najib Balala, said the Sanctuary will provide the National Bongo Task Force with animals for reintroduction into indigenous habitats such as Ragati, Eburu, Mau and Aberdares Forests. He added that the launch of the sanctuary is also a fundamental step in the conservation of the species and represents the next step in its breeding program. He also affirmed his commitment, and that of the Government of Kenya, to ensure no species go extinct.
“Conservation is not just about talks and strategies, and therefore as stakeholders, we must be prepared to go that extra mile, as we proceed and focus on the implementation of the Bongo Recovery Plan 2019-2025”.
Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy Patron, Mr. Humphrey Kariuki, emphasized the need to protect wildlife. He noted that the protection of any form of wildlife is a win-win situation because it requires us to protect their habitats, which also happen to be critical to our own communities and livelihoods, adding that the Mountain Bongo is a species whose natural habitat consists of water towers that nourish our rivers, our farms, and our homes.
The Kenya Forest Service as well assured their commitment to the growth of the bongo population in Kenya, thus triggering the KFS Board of Directors to license approximately 800 acres of forest land on Mt. Kenya, for the establishment of the Mountain Bongo Sanctuary.
Dr. Patrick Omondi, Biodiversity, Research & Planning Director at KWS, reiterated that the Mawingu Bongo Sanctuary is part of the implementation of the National Mountain Bongo Recovery and Action Plan 2019 – 2025 that was launched in July 2019 at the same location, and that it will greatly boost the recovery of the species in the wild.