press Release

Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy Releases 10 Adult Mountain Bongos into the Mawingu Sanctuary

Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy Releases 10 Adult Mountain Bongos into the Mawingu Sanctuary

●      MKWC has been running a Mountain Bongo antelope breeding and rewilding program for 20 years.

●      The Mawingu Sanctuary is a 776-acre indigenous forest on the slopes of Mount Kenya.

●      The Conservancy has set a bold target to fully rewild 750 Mountain Bongos in the next 50 years.

Nanyuki, 7 th May 2024 – The Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy (MKWC) has today released another ten adult Mountain Bongos into the Mawingu Mountain Bongo Sanctuary in a significant event graced by Her Excellency, Mrs. Rachel Ruto, the First Lady of the Republic of Kenya.

In 2022, the Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service and Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy established the world’s first Mountain Bongo sanctuary, the Mawingu Sanctuary, a 776-acre protected area of indigenous forest located within Mount Kenya Forest Reserve, a well-known former range of the Mountain Bongo. Within its first year, ten Mountain Bongos were translocated into the sanctuary, and since then, four births have been recorded, providing full proof of concept that these antelope species have settled well into their new wild home.

Kenya has an ambitious plan to achieve a national population of 750 Mountain Bongos in the next 50 years, as enshrined in the long-term vision of the Mountain Bongo National Recovery and Action Plan launched in 2019. The establishment of the sanctuary, and the release of another 10 Mountain Bongos today, is a critical milestone in the implementation and realization of the medium-term goals of the Action Plan and provides the bedrock for the next steps in the recovery of the species.Today’s release of the Mountain Bongo into the sanctuary is the culmination of the 20-year journey for Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy in this effort and a significant highlight event. Over the last two decades, the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy has nurtured four generations of Mountain Bongo after repatriating them from various zoos in North America to start the breeding and rewilding program, whose results we are witnessing today.

H.E. Mrs. Rachel Ruto, the First Lady of the Republic of Kenya , affirmed that this reintroduction of the Mountain Bongos is a significant moment in Kenya’s efforts in wildlife conservation.

“The release of ten Mountain Bongos into the Mawingu Sanctuary at the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy today is the hope and motivation we all need to continue safeguarding endangered wildlife species and preserving their valuable ecosystems. By releasing these magnificent creatures into their native habitat, we reaffirm our dedication to their survival and well-being."

Dr Robert Aruho, Head of Conservancy at MKWC, said that seeing the Mountain Bongos return to their natural home is a dream come true.

“The Mountain Bongo is truly a Kenyan heritage, only found in the wild in Kenya. Wherever you find a Mountain Bongo, you can be sure that animal originated from Kenya. Today, there are fewer than 100 Bongos within their cradle home here in Kenya. That keeps us awake here at Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy because we cannot allow extinction to occur as we look on.”

MKWC, the Kenya Wildlife Service, the Kenya Forest Service, and other partners will continue collaborating to make the government’s goal of growing the Bongo population to 750 over the next 50 years a reality. Humphrey Kariuki, the Parton of MKWC, believes that the release of the Mountain Bongos into their rightful home in the wild is not just a victory for conservationists but for all of humanity.

"I have always believed that conservation and a thriving natural environment is the greatest gift we can leave for our descendants. It is the legacy we will bequeath to the next generation. We have a duty to come together to build a culture of living in harmony with nature. As witnessed in the past 20 years, and God willing over the next 20 years to come, our commitment to conservation and recovery of the mountain bongo remains strong and steadfast.”

The government's support for conservancies such as MKWC exemplifies the multi-layered approach needed to tackle challenges facing wildlife conservation today. Through such collaboration, critically endangered species are given a chance to survive and thrive in their natural habitats.

Dr. Alfred Mutua, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife, emphasized the impact of the holistic approach adopted by the government to support wildlife conservation.

"The government's National Recovery and Action Plan for the Mountain Bongo provides a strategic framework for our collective efforts to save this iconic Kenyan species from the brink of extinction. We are laying a firm foundation for the recovery and sustainable management of Mountain Bongo populations in Kenya through targeted conservation interventions.”


Wildlife conservation is a critical issue that demands attention and action from all sectors of society. MKWC’s Mountain Bongo Breeding and Rewilding Program showcases a deep recognition of shared responsibility to protect and nurture the world. Initiatives like these that bring together government, conservation groups, and communities demonstrate a powerful commitment to preserving wildlife and the environment.

Dr Erustus Kanga, Director-General of the Kenya Wildlife Service, highlighted the efforts that the KWS has made in collaboration with MKWC.

"Kenya's wildlife population has been steadily recovering for most species, as evidenced in the recent National Wildlife Census Report 2021. There are a few exceptions for some species, particularly the Mountain Bongo, whose population in the wild is at precarious levels of fewer than 100 individuals occurring in isolated populations in Aberdares and other areas. Since 2004, Kenya Wildlife Service has worked and supported the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy in recovery and restoring the mountain bongo, providing veterinary resources and a framework for in-situ breeding and rewilding.''

For 20 years, MKWC’s approach has combined scientific research, habitat restoration, and community involvement, ensuring that conservation benefits both wildlife and people.

The successful release of Mountain Bongos at Mawingu Sanctuary today highlights the possibilities available when stakeholders harness collective will and resources towards a common goal.


Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy (MKWC) is a non-profit trust serving as a beacon of conservation to inspire present and future generations to preserve and protect nature's beauty and wildlife. The Conservancy is located a few kilometers from Nanyuki town, at the foot of the scenic Mount Kenya, a U.N. World Heritage Site. It is home to 29 different animal species, a population of approximately 1,200 animals. The Conservancy supports its purpose through the ongoing breeding and rewilding of the critically endangered Mountain Bongo; providing professional veterinary care for orphaned, injured, and abandoned animals at the Conservancy's Animal Orphanage; and instilling a passion for conservation among local youth through community education programs.