The Meru Bongo and Rhino Conservation Trust (MBRCT) has been granted a license from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to import endangered rhinos and bongos from the Florida Rare Species Conservatory Foundation in the United States.
The project is being spearheaded by the Meru County Government with assistance from the Public Private People Partnership (PPPP). It is designed to take place in a 250-acre parcel of forest land in the Marania and Muchiene state-owned forest covers within the Mt Kenya Forest Reserve. These areas will be fenced off to provide the endangered bongos with a secure environment in which they can adapt to their new habitat.
“I take this opportunity to thank all our partners, including Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Kenya Forest Service (KFS), Ntimaka and Kamulu Community Forest Associations, Lewa Conservancy, and my board of trustees led by Chairman John Kinoti, for the great energy and outstanding steering of the project, which is moving at a great speed,” Governor Mwangaza said.
John Kinoti, the chair of the Meru County Bongo/Rhino conservation trust, highlighted the positive impact the project is expected to have on the local community. He believes that the arrival of the bongos will attract more tourists to the region, bringing economic benefits to the area.
It is widely accepted that human encroachment is slowly destroying the county's forest ecosystem, much to the dismay of locals and environmentalists. To reverse this trend, the newly created sanctuary is expected to enable the Bongo population to reproduce and proliferate. This will make it possible for future generations to be rewilded into the Mt Kenya forest. The sanctuary was first used for the conservation of these animals and then Black rhinos were introduced during the second stage.