2024 marks 20 years since Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy and Kenya Wildlife Service imported 18 captive bred Mountain Bongos acquired from several zoos across North America to start the core breeding population of this majestic antelope.

The importation, which famously became well known as the Bongo Repatriation Project, was triggered by the decline of this antelope in the wild whose population had fallen to less than 100 at the time. These Bongos existed in severely fragmented geographic segments in Mount Kenya and Aberdares, which presented limited opportunity for the species to recover naturally. The importation was therefore the bedrock and hallmark of the breeding and rewilding of the Mountain Bongo whose success is noticeable to date.

Today, Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy stands as a global center of excellence in conservation, leading on the breeding and rewilding of these critically endangered antelopes, restoring their habitat and returning them to their natural home in the wild.

When the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy was established in 2004, 18 Mountain Bongos were repatriated from the USA to kick off the Bongo breeding and rewilding program. One of the greatest achievements in the 20-year history of the Conservancy was the opening of the Mawingu Mountain Bongo Sanctuary in March 2022. The Sanctuary is Kenya‘s (and the world‘s) first Mountain Bongo Sanctuary and is located at the foothills of Mount Kenya. 10 Mountain Bongos were released into this Sanctuary in its first year. Today, following the birth of three calves in this 776-acre Sanctuary, there are 13 bongos, providing full proof of concept that rewilding the Mountain Bongo in Kenya is not just a possibility but a reality.

  • AntelopeThe Bongo program contributes to the realization of the Mountain Bongo National Recovery and Action Plan launched in 2019 at Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy with an ambitious yet achievable goal of growing the Mountain Bongo population to 750 over the next 50 years.
  • AntelopeAdditionally, MKWC Animal Orphanage is home to over 29 species of animals including one of Kenya’s most threatened primates, the rare Patas monkey.
  • ReportResearch is an invaluable pillar of the Conservancy aimed at generating sound scientific data and information to assist in day-to-day management. The Conservancy in addition to achieving its needs hosts students on research studies and internship attachments.
  • GroupThe Conservancy also provides communities with the opportunity for hands-on training on ecosystem restoration and has created and integrated lessons focusing on the Mountain Bongo. Over the past 20 years, over 400,000 students have been hosted at the Conservancy for educational trips.
  • AntelopeOver 350 acres of 40,000 indigenous trees have been planted from saplings purchased from the local community to enhance the forest cover in the area and forms part of the habitat of the fully rewilded Mountain Bongos.
Bongos into the Sanctuary

To celebrate the 20 remarkable years, MKWC will be releasing a further 10 Bongos into the Sanctuary in April 2024. It's an emotional event releasing these animals into the semi wild area ultimately preparing them for life in the wild. Read more on the first Bongo release of 2022 here.

Later on in the year in September, the Conservancy will be calling upon all hikers, trekkers and mountain enthusiasts to take part in the 3rd Annual Trek for Bongos, summiting Mount Kenya, to fundraise for the reforestation of the mountain habitat, the natural home of the Mountain Bongo. If interested in participating in the Trek for the Bongo, do get in touch with us by filling out the Contact Us Form.