The success of the Mountain Bongo breeding, release, and eventual survival in the wild depends on the support of the communities in surrounding areas. Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy (MKWC) has set up community conservation education and empowerment programs to create awareness on the plight of Mountain Bongo and sustainable natural resource management.
We provide communities with the opportunity for hands-on training on ecosystem restoration. Cognizant that sustainable conservation will require training and equipping of the young generation, MKWC, with support from partners, has created and integrated lessons focusing on the Mountain Bongo in its education curriculum for schools who visit on education trips.
Annually, MKWC hosts over 20,000 students on these trips and supports over 30 students on 6-month internships. Though the program was affected by COVID-19 travel restrictions, we project that the number of students visiting the Conservancy will increase by about 10% annually. There is a need to continue to support this program for an extensive reach and impact.
The Conservancy also works with the communities to restore degraded areas within Mount Kenya forest through its forest restoration and reforestation program. MKWC purchases seedlings of indigenous trees from local collaborative forest management associations (CFAs) trains and employs local community groups who then assist in planting and taking care of the seedlings in the forest until they are established.
Under this partnership with the communities, MKWC has involved 3,000 community members in planting over 35,000 indigenous tree species in Mount Kenya Forest. In 2022, MKWC plans to plant another 5,000 trees with the support of the communities.