Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy, Prague Zoo partner for conservation and restoration of Mountain Bongo habitat

Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy (MKWC) announced a new partnership with Prague Zoo to safeguard the Mountain Bongos’ future through habitat rehabilitation.

The partnership will see Prague Zoo donate 10,000 USD to MKWC to facilitate the reforestation of the Mount Kenya Forest ecosystem, which is vital for the survival of this critically endangered species, including funding for tree planting and seedling procurement.

Over the past ten years, rampant logging and climate change have decimated over 20% of Mount Kenya Forest’s tree cover. Further jeopardising the Mountain Bongo’s survival, fewer than 100 of these majestic animals are left in the wild.

The partnership aims to aid this iconic Kenyan species’ longer-term rewilding and future by restoring one of the Bongos’ last remaining natural refuges.

Restoring the Mountain Bongo habitat through tree planting will also play a crucial role in contributing to Kenya’s ambitious reforesting targets. Last year, President Ruto called on Kenyans to help plant 15 billion trees and achieve 30% tree cover by 2032 to stop the drought cycle.

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The partnership follows the landmark opening of the Mawingu Mountain Bongo Sanctuary at the foothills of Mount Kenya in March 2022. MKWC has already successfully released 10 Mountain Bongos into the Sanctuary, with plans to have 750 fully rewilded Bongos by 2050.

To ensure the long-term success of the habitat restoration project, MKWC will continue hosting numerous tree-planting events and community engagement initiatives to promote the protection of the Bongo ecosystem. This includes inviting over 20,000 students on school trips a year to inspire students to take up the cause of conservation. Guests at the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, the hotel that sits within the conservancy, can also impact by planting trees within the sanctuary and mountain reserve.

Dr Robert Aruho, MKWC’s Head of the Conservancy, added:

“We are thrilled to work with Prague Zoo to restore the Bongo’s vanishing habitat. Their generous donation will help tackle one of the biggest threats to the Bongo’s existence, and we know that we cannot achieve the goal of rewilding if the Mountain Bongo has no ecosystem to thrive in. Our shared commitment will mean that for the Bongo, a brighter future awaits.”

Mgr. Miroslav Bobek, Director of Prague Zoo, commented:

“Prague Zoo implements and supports several projects aiming to protect biodiversity, and we are delighted to start the partnership with Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy to protect forests that are key habitats for the Mountain Bongo and several other species. I believe that the fundraising activities started by our keeper Lucie Krizova which are essential for the support, will expand over time and our cooperation with MKWC will become permanent.”

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