A two-year drought ended a few months ago in Kenya with some much need rainfall. To further aid the drought relief, the long rains have now begun in the Mount Kenya and Laikipia District. Things are going well with the Bongo herd at the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy (MKWC). The health of the heard is good and reproduction continues with the herd now numbering 60-plus animals. A number of animals have been living in the forest sanctuary for the last two years and are well-acclimated to the forest terrain, foraging on creepers in the glades from dusk to dawn, and have regained some natural fear of man. These animals were recently scheduled for release onto Mount Kenya following meetings with Kenya Wildlife Service.
Preparations for the release involved cutting a 5-kilometer road through the bush up the mountain to a release site and digging a pit for offloading the animals. This road would allow for the transport of the crated bongo up the mountain via lorries and trailers. Satellite transmitters for post-release monitoring of the animals were in place and ready to be activated. Unfortunately the release was postponed by KWS just two days prior to the release in response to questions raised during a meeting of the National Bongo Task Force at the William Holden Wildlife Education Center. The animals that were ready for release have been returned to the forest sanctuary.
Meanwhile, with the bongo herd going at MKWC, breeding recommendations to maximize the available genetics have been prepared, utilizing the PM2000 program, and plans are being made to increase the facilities to handle up to 100 bongo. This expansion of facilities is currently being funded by Don and Iris Hunt of the MKWC. Additional funds to assist with the expansion would be greatly appreciated and can be sent directly to MKWC or to the International Bongo Foundation.