Bush Drums July 2007

» Posted on Jul 22, 2007 in Bush Drums | 0 comments

Bush Drums July 2007

Baby boomers make us proud “grandparents”

Up in the south western part of the Conservancy, where the “Immigrant” bongo tend to congregate, things have been lively.

First to arrive this March was “Zawadi” (Gift) a female calf.

At the end of May to early June we were suddenly blessed with 4 more calves:

“Amana” (Trust), followed by “Rafiki” (friend) and most preciously, “Uhuru” (freedom) born to “Miss Kenya.”

Newborn bongo babies

Four baby bongos, all of them second-generation Kenyan born

“007” was the temporary name given to the only male calf born in 2007 to date. (The Cape May County Zoo‘s AAZK chapter of animal experts are sponsoring this calf and are planning a fundraiser for the project later this summer, watch this space…)

Back in 2004 it was the arrival of “Miss Kenya” that brought tears of joy to all involved. She was the first bongo calf born on her ancestral land after the return of the American bred herd that had been donated by U.S. Zoological parks. Both “Amana” and “Uhuru” are second generation bongo calves born to their “American” grandparents. They will join in with the Conservancy’s own survival group of Bongo bred here and earmarked for future release.

It’s an important mile stone to celebrate – with your continued help and the work of all of our dedicated staff and supporters, we are one giant step closer to make the re-introduction of this magnificent Antelope to Mount Kenya a reality.

Now this news just in as I write: We had yet another baby bongo born this very minute!!

A new Wilderness Classroom

Month of May saw Completion of our new Rhinogate Wilderness Camp

Rhinogate at Mount Kenya
A ‘Nature’s classroom’ specially built for our Kenyan students. The Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy hosts approximately 7,000 Kenyan students annually. The students come in groups from schools all over the region and are accommodated and tutored by our neighboring William Holden Wildlife Education Center.

For most of them, a trip to the Conservancy is their first contact with the Mount Kenya wilderness and the creatures that live there.

The new wilderness classroom at “Rhinogate” was built by Don Hunt (M.K.W.C Chairman) with the Conservancy’s foreman Kimani and crew.

Don remembers fondly his childhood breakaways into the wilds of Canada and what it meant to him as a youngster growing up. But there is more to it: (As told to Bill Holden and Don Hunt by James Nicholson in 1967)

Rhinogate was the name given to this exact spot many years ago. Major James Nicholsen, was the first settler to tame this land by erecting fences to protect his wheat and sheep. That was until he noticed that the fence greatly “inconvenienced” a lone Rhino that had lived there for many years.

Nicholson decided to built a gate in the fence.

Rhinocerous passing through the rhinogate
Every night when the sheep were safely tucked away in the boma for the night, Nicholson would open the gate for the Rhino.
The Rhino soon learned that, as long as he had returned to the forest by morning no harm would come to him. Nicholson did not mind sharing a little wheat with this ‘original settler.’

That is how the first wildlife/human conflict was settled!

Today we can demonstrate to our students at Rhinogate Wilderness Camp that a little tolerance goes a long way when it comes to sharing.

Our educational programs are designed to reach young people of all ages globally.

White Zebra at Mt. Kenya

News of the White Zebra

Since the release of 50 of our home bred rare white zebra onto Mount Kenya, there have been several sightings of white foals born to them in the wilds of the Mountain forest.

All seem to have adapted very well.

Occasionally a ‘delegation’ will return to the Conservancy’s boundary. They mostly come at night and will ‘call’ to their brothers on the inside of the Conservancy. Our ongoing successful breeding program of these rare and beautiful creatures will insure future releases.

Our very special thank you goes to:

Mr. and Mrs. M.K. Marker
for their continued generosity

The enthusiastic members of the
Cape May County Zoo
AAZK Chapter

Ms. Vicky Bailey for her
very kind donation

Stefanie Powers and the
William Holden Wildlife Foundation
for their continued support

Dr. Larry and Ann Kinch
for their generous donation

Our dedicated web designer Chuck Cavanaugh
who generously lends his time and talent
to make this page possible

And not least our extended family of friends
from all corners of the world:
Your donations and interest in our work
Are our guiding lights.
Together we shall succeed in saving
those creatures whose lives depend on us

Model Orphans

Much in contrast to ‘Oliver’ Buffalo and some of his race, we still have ‘Mara’ the wildebeest and Kathy the delightful little orphan eland with us at the Orphanage. Both are growing up rapidly but are gentle and best friends.

Because they have no memory of having seen their own kind, it seems that the little eland thinks it is a wildebeest and visa versa.

They are welcome to stay a little while longer before their own journey back to a future in the wild.

To insure success we like them to be a little older, wiser, and most of all in top condition.

It will be interesting to see how they will deal with their odd bond once they are returned to their respective herds.

Helping to preserve the last of the Asiatic Lions

Don Hunt and Iris Hunt, together with Stefanie Powers, were invited to attend and advise at a symposium on the fate of the Asiatic Lion in Ahmadabad, India. They were joined by other experts on various aspects of the species survival from Kenya and overseas.

Don and Iris Hunt in India

Don and Iris Hunt in search of Bengal Tigers

The Symposium was hosted by the Vanishing Herds Foundation who have worked hard and made it their goal to save the very endangered last few wild prides of the Asiatic lion.

Don and Iris stayed on a couple of days in search of sighting a wild tiger. Little did they know they’d end up on the back of an elephant to take them safely to where the tiger was hiding! The conservation of Bengal Tigers in India is a success story.
Bengal Tiger in the wild in India
The Asiatic Lion deserves equal attention. Less than 350 animals remain in the Gir Sanctuary in Gujarat State. Unfortunately the Gir Sanctuary is crisscrossed by a highway, a railway, numerous temples and most importantly a big population of traditional hunters and pastoralists and their cattle who also call this home.

This is a very fragile and difficult situation that needs urgent attention. The symposium has already produced some encouraging results.

Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy