“He who has done his best for his own time has lived for all times” – fitting words of wisdom by famous poet Schiller for the Bongo Boy who quietly left us this summer but will forever remain very special to us.
Noah – once bright chestnut colored, his coat darkened with age. Almost black at the end, Noah’s presence, like that of his famous namesake, was synonymous with continued life.
At the age of 3 he presented us with his firstborn, Karen, and over the years several brothers and sisters followed. Interestingly, in his prime, Noah seemed to have had a knack to add girls to his brood. In later years, the boys followed.
His offspring made him the proud grandfather of 14 adorable Bongos, every single one adopted by well-wishers from around the world. Did old Noah sense how much joy his amber-eyed family with their unmistakably big ears brought to everyone?
Some of his progeny have become famous in their own right: “Obama” whose namesake has since become President of the United States, “Hamsini” (ki-swahili for 50) marks the 50th bongo birth at the Conservancy and a true milestone, and a girl named after the special day she was born on, “Valentine”.
During his retirement Noah received special attention from his caregivers who understood the complexity of his age and ensured that his last years were comfortable. His home in the safety of the Conservancy looked out on Mount Kenya and the virgin forest where some of his offspring are being conditioned for release to the home of his ancestors, Mount Kenya.
In the wild, nature knows little “retirement”: to ensure the wellness of the herd, the old and the weak instinctively leave the group to face an uncertain death alone. They mostly fall prey to predators even before a natural death. Survival of the fittest – an intrinsic force of nature ensures that the herds are kept strong and healthy in order to multiply and thrive with no “burden” to slow them down or endanger their young. In captivity, receiving ultimate nutrition and care, Bongos have been known to live up to 19 years.
Noah was bred and born at the Mount Kenya Game Ranch under the watchful eyes of the Hunt Family. He was, at first, a shy and weak calf, and it was soon apparent that his mother’s milk had dried up. Kevin Hunt (Don’s son) took him home where he thrived under the care of Lydia, his wife. Feeding him on her own formula the little fellow not only thrived but grew into one of the most handsome big bulls ever seen.
As the “posterboy” for bongo conservation he became the famous envy of many a hunter, zoo directors and animal buffs from all over the world came to admire him.
Noah remained with us until the end of his life. He is sadly missed by all who met and knew him. His genes continue on, visible in his very handsome progeny.
Noah was immortalized long ago when he was chosen to adorn the official poster of our Bongo Repatriation Programme.
Become a member of the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy and Noah, the “posterboy”, is yours for FREE as a desktop background image.