Bongo News Update
Our Bongo Rehabilitation Project, which began in 1967 is now ready for the beginning of phase two: the actual release of our captive bred bongo back to the wilds of their ancestral home on Mount Kenya.
The first selected group from our bongo herd has now been “in training” to become wild again for over one year. Training entailed teaching the captive born animals a healthy fear of their natural enemies which of course includes man.
But first they had to brave a controlled wilderness area here at the Conservancy where they encountered dense forest undergrowth and steeply sloping terrain as would be their later habitat. Slowly artificial foods and water were withdrawn; they learned to eat wild shrubs and drink from the river. As they became more self sufficient every encounter with man was made unpleasant. To-date, we are happy to report that their natural instincts have taken over and these animals that you could once stroke are now hiding from our scouts, just what they need to do to survive in their new wilderness home.
Our very special thank you goes to:
- Dan Bramwell and Nikki Salter for their continued support
- Jim and Karyn Del Rosso for adopting so many of our needy animals
- Juliane Polster and Colleagues for their very loyal and generous support
- Stefanie Powers and the William Holden Wildlife Foundation for your friendship and support
- Paul Gary for your generous gift and your faith in us
- Chuck Simmons for saving Chucky II, once again!
- Glenn and Jeannine Maber
- Gene and Patsy McNichols
- Major Michael Betterton and family
- Jack and Vanessa Peterson
- Marc and Renee Redman
- All very kind and generous donors
And last not least every one of our friends from all over the globe:
Thank you all for opening your hearts and your wallets to help the animals and their environment. Without you, our work here would not be possible.
During the bongo’s eventual move to the rugged mountain wilderness they will be fitted with radio transmitters. Ron Surratt, Chairman of the Bongo SSP and executive officer of the International Bongo Foundation helped design a satellite transmitter which will allow our research team to follow their progress via Google Earth.
Never before has a release of mountain antelope back to their natural habitat been attempted… We hope that much will be learned from this first effort to pave the way for the future.
We now have 54 of these rare antelope in our breeding herds at the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy. Annual releases are planned to take place each year in cooperation with the Kenya Wildlife Service. It is hoped that 200 to 300 bongos will form a sustainable wild population on Mount Kenya.
We dedicate our work with bongo to the memory of our friend and partner William Holden, who started this project with us in 1967.