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In January of this year, a significant milestone was reached with the opening of the Meru Bongo and Rhino Sanctuary on a 250-acre parcel of land in the Mt. Kenya Forest Reserve. The Meru County Government championed this new bongo and black rhino sanctuary through an ongoing Public-Private People Partnership (PPPP) that propels Kenya’s National Bongo Recovery and Action Plan (2019-2023) into tangible conservation action.

 The Mountain Bongo

Pretty as a picture: The Mountain Bongo (Photo by Rare Species)

Classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Antelope Specialist Group, the Mountain Bongo faces a perilous decline, with fewer individuals surviving in the wild compared to those in captivity. Hunting, disease, and habitat loss have decimated their numbers, leaving only a few individuals scattered across patches of forest in Mt. Kenya, Mau Forest, Eburu Forest, and the Aberdares in Kenya.

Beyond the urgent need to bolster the bongo population, this initiative is also committed to engaging local communities in conservation and livelihood enhancement. The Meru Bongo and Rhino Conservation Trust (MBRCT) is entrusted with the implementation of the project, guided by the following stakeholders: the Meru County Government, Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service, Ntimaka and Kamulu Community Forest Associations, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, and Rare Species Conservatory Foundation.

Bongos at the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation.

Speaking during World Bongo Day, MBRCT Chairman John Kinoti said, “Conservation is the road less travelled, but MBRCT and its partners are determined to walk this path. Together, we strive to ensure that future generations will experience the enchanting bongos.”

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