William Holden Wildlife Foundation

The Mt. Kenya ecosystem
is a world heritage site and
would not be complete without the
abundance of bongos that it used to hold.
The success of this
Bongo Awareness Program,
funded by the WHWF,
depends on the support and
commitment of the people of Kenya
to ensure security and protection
of the bongos, of other wildlife
and of the habitat.

The mountain bongo is an extremely valuable animal to the local community. If their numbers can be built up, this would create investment in tourism facilities and employment for many Kenyans. It most certainly would be a big boost for Kenya tourism, both local and foreign. The release of the mountain bongo to the Mt. Kenya forest will provide an opportunity to impress upon the communities, the importance and value of Mt. Kenya as a water catchment, its biodiversity, tourism, employment and river preservation as a world heritage site.

The Bongo Awareness Program is designed to take the bongo conservation message to the communities that live in the bongo dispersal areas of the Mt. Kenya forest. It is aimed at covering the districts where the bongo will first settle. The target is the communities and schools neighboring the Mt. Kenya forest.

The project is hoped to promote the biodiversity of the Mt. Kenya Ecosystem. Other animal species will benefit from the special conservation messages put into place as a direct result of the bongo protection. Conservation of the bongo as an umbrella species and the education of the local communities on the important of conserving Mt. Kenya as a world heritage site will help to conserve other natural resources. The entire work is aimed at uniting all conservation stakeholders by a common goal: to take the responsibility for protecting the biodiversity of their land.

The Bongo Awareness Program was successfully carried out between Sept. 29 and Nov. 17, 2009 in three of the districts where the bongos are expected to settle and establish their new homes. Extensive visits were made in the newly created districts of Buuri and Kieni East, and the Laikipia East District. Schools, self-help groups, community and youth groups and various government offices were visited. At all sites, a talk was given on the importance of forest conservation for the benfit of the bongs, as well as a brief explanation of the Bongo Repatriation Project, and bongo posters and booklets were distributed.

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