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Mt Kenya Wildlife Conservancy

Laikipia, Kenya
Kenya’s highest mountain and the second-highest in Africa is home to unique species of flora and fauna; the mountain is a National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site and has a Wildlife Conservancy on its shoulders. The Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy was started in the 1960s by film star William Holden and TV personality Don Hunt, and immediately seized the interest of the then President of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta. The conservancy aims to prevent the extinction of species by breeding endangered species and rehabilitating them into the wild. It also has an animal orphanage for orphaned, injured or abused wild animals, and an education programme that hosts over 10,000 future conservationists. Visitors can become a friend of the conservancy or adopt an animal. The conservancy is now home to 28 species – the rarest of which are breeding herds of mountain bongo and white zebra.
Wildlife Rehabilitation
The Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy’s Bongo Rehabilitation program was named amongst the three most important wildlife projects worldwide in 2006.
In 2004 American Zoological Institutions joined hands with the Bongo Species Survival Plan in returning 18 of their Zoo bred bongo with Kenyan ancestry to the soil of their origin.
Eleven baby bongo have since been born to that herd kept in the safety of the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy.
In May we welcomed the first of the ‘second generation’ born to the repatriated American “grandmothers” as a part of the Conservancy’s bongo rehabilitation to Mount Kenya program.
Some of the births this year were sired by our magnificent Conservancy bred bull “NOAH.”
All our young bongo are raised with as little human interference as possible. The Conservancy has a team of trained and dedicated staff that keep a watchful eye as these new mothers are encouraged to raise their young in a relatively natural environment.
They make sure that plenty of fresh browse is available for the animals as well as freshwater, minerals and other veterinary requirements are met when necessary.
Meanwhile, a small group of mature bongo have entered an advanced stage towards rehabilitation. They are kept in a forest wilderness area where they encounter other wild animals. A natural stream provides fresh mountain water and the vegetation is the same as they will find after their eventual release. We make contact with humans rare and unpleasant so as to rekindle their instinctive fear of man needed for survival in the wild.
The Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy’s Bongo Rehabilitation program was named amongst the three most important wildlife projects worldwide in 2006 (by AZA)
We are grateful to all our supporters the world over without whom this project could not progress. The success of this program is directly dependent on your sponsorship.
Animal Rescue
Orphaned and Injured Animals
The Animal Orphanage at the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy is a unique facility to give orphaned, injured, neglected, abused or frightened wild animals a second chance. The orphanage provides shelter and professional care with the goal to release these creatures back into the wild where they belong.
The William Holden Wildlife Education Center
William Holden was not only known for his many achievements as an actor and Hollywood film star.
In his private life, he was driven by a curiosity that kept him travelling around the world for many years.
Finally, when he visited Kenya he fell in love with the country, its people and its nature and especially the wildlife.
He teamed up the Julian McKeand, an ex-professional hunter, naturalist and Game Warden, and Don and Iris Hunt, exotic animal specialists. Together they built the Mount Kenya Game Ranch for the purpose of breeding and preserving endangered species. Holden and Hunts’ future plans included the establishment of an education centre as a part of their Ranch, where Kenyan students could learn about wildlife. It was a project especially important to Bill Holden. He was in the midst of drawing up architectural plans for the education centre when he passed away unexpectedly in 1981.
Many of Bill Holden’s influential and famous friends wanted to help financially so that Holden’s dream could be realized. In 1982 the William Holden Wildlife Foundation was formed in his honour, with the purpose to work and assist in Kenya with the wildlife education of its youth.
Holden’s companion of many years, Stefanie Powers took over as chairman of the Foundation, with Don as Vice Chairman and Iris Hunt, Deane Johnson and Julian McKeand as Directors.
Don and Iris Hunt donated 15 acres of their land to be used as the site of the education centre.
Together the team build a unique education facility that today is visited by over 10,000 students annually, free of charge to them.
The education centre also operates an outreach program, build libraries in schools and generally assists needy schools with a view to environmental education.
The facility is operated with a Kenyan administrator, graduate Kenya educator and librarian, and other Kenyan staff.
Stefanie Powers, when not working in films or on stage, continues to support and gather funds for the Foundation’s Education Center. She visits whenever possible and takes a keen personal interest.
The Hunts and the McKeands continue to donate their time and expertise to oversee the day to day operations at the centre.
Students learn at the Conservancy’s Animal Orphanage
The Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy hosts the centre’s students free of charge on a daily basis.
Since its establishment, the William Holden Education Center has become a model educational facility reaching all over Kenya. Many other wildlife oriented organizations have since noted the positive impact of the centre. They have inspired and motivated to further wildlife and environmental education in their own locations.
With the help of his partners in Kenya and friends around the world, William Holden’s dream has become a reality.

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