Bush Drums December 2006

» Posted on Dec 1, 2006 in Bush Drums | 0 comments

Bush Drums December 2006

A Time to celebrate

“Bwana Don” Hunt, Co-founder of the Mount Kenya Game Ranch and Wildlife Conservancy celebrated his 75th year this last October.

In a ceremony honouring their leader, staff and members of the Conservancy hosted a surprise party among the animals at the Orphanage.
Don Hunt and Kimani

There were many speeches and good wishes.

A touched Don said that “The best is yet to come,” when he reflected on his 45 years of conservation work in Africa. Word had just come that trackers think they may have located signs of the survival of a very small group of Bongo in the almost impenetrable thickets of the eastern Mount Kenya Forest. If proven correct this is fantastic news indeed after no sign of any Bongo there for more than 10 years.

Don Hunt started the conservation of the mountain bongo with his capture for captive breeding program more than 30 years ago. Today the Conservancy’s bongo rehabilitation program is well along with multiple bongo births every year. A small group of mature animals are now roaming free in the yet supervised wilderness of the large forest bomas bordering the National Park. The news of the existing isolated wild group of… animals could not have come at a better time.

Your help is needed now more than ever to make this program come to fruition with the first release of captive bred animals on Mount Kenya. The next step includes fitting transmitters prior to the release in order to track the groups’ movements.

The Conservancy is grateful for your help in this unique project to save not only the magnificent Mountain Bongo but also the ecosystem that is Mount Kenya for generations to come.

Bush Babies Wanted

A special new wall of tiles at the animal Orphanage was started in honor of our youngest supporters.

For a one time $50 donation a tile bearing the name of the young animal lover is permanently placed at the animal orphanage’s wall of “Bush baby” sponsors. (For the larger “group” tile a donation of $200 is expected.)

An ideal opportunity to show a child the way to participate in conservation and learn how he/she can make a difference.

Meanwhile our wall of tiles is growing but there is still a space for your name to be placed among our:

  • “Friends” ($125)
  • “Golden Friends” ($500)
  • “Platinum Friends” ($1000)
  • “Wildlife Guardians” ($10,000)

Top honor for a M.K.W.C. fellow Trustee

Elder of the Burning Spear

Paul Ndungu, Elder of the Burning Spear

Paul Ndungu, Elder of the Burning Spear

Paul Ndungu, a founder/Trustee of the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy was recently awarded a very special honor by Kenya’s President Kibaki who bestowed upon him the order of the Elder of the Burning Spear.

Paul received the award in recognition of his service to Kenya in regulating the just distribution of land, and in particular protecting forest land from destruction to preserve vital water levels in rivers and the great lakes of the Rift Valley.

As our long time lawyer and personal friend we are especially proud to have Paul on our team. His work for Kenya and her people does much to preserve their rich natural heritage for the future citizens of this world.

Their New Hobby: Conservation for Fun

Students at Mt. Kenya

The Conservancy hosted almost 10,000 students in 2006

They traveled from all corners of Kenya as far away as Eldoret in western Kenya and Taveta in the south. A record total of 9600 Kenyan students were invited to visit and learn from our conservation programs this year.

They toured the Conservancy and had their first ever glimpse of rhinos, marveled at the zebra and watched the hippo bathe. Most of the kids had only heard about the mighty buffalo and majestic eland from the stories their grandfathers told. None of them had ever dreamed they would be able to touch a bongo or feed a bushbuck. They learned how the different kinds of primates play a vital part in our ecology. And how it is possible to co-exist with lions and cheetahs.

Ranging in ages from 6 to 20 our young students enjoyed touching and feeding the orphaned animals.

“An experience I will never forget,” remarked Stella Kaimiu and she spoke for most of the students when she later wrote: “It has helped us realize how important it is to conserve the environment and the wildlife.”

Bongo baby
Catherine Osoro celebrated “The True Beauty of Kenya” in a poem she wrote after her visit.

Most of our student visitors come to the Conservancy from our adjacent William Holden Wildlife Education Center.

Founded by Stefanie Powers, Don and Iris Hunt and Julian McKeand, the center is funded entirely by international donations. Stefanie works tirelessly to fund and organize the various educational and outreach programs offered. She is also a loyal supporter of our own work with wildlife and visits us and the students as often as she can.

David McConnell, administrator, spoke for us all when he said:

“It is indeed very satisfying to receive letters showing so much appreciation of our work that has left a lasting impression on these young minds.”

Finally, Margaret Muthee, on a recent student-visit celebrated the bongo antelope as “A real Beauty” and ended her poem like this:

Her journey so long

To the place she belongs

Forever we shall cherish

Our promise we’ll keep – to make

Her flourish,

For she is a beauty!

Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy