Our History

 

The Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy is a non-profit Trust under the laws of Kenya and 501 (3C) Tax Exempt Corporation in the USA.
It was formed in 2004 by an American TV personality and conservationist, the late Don and his wife the Late Iris Hunt raise funds for the Mount Kenya Game Ranch; Wildlife Conservation and Conservation Education Programs.
The Mount Kenya Game Ranch establishment story is long and winding. In 1964, two young Americans - film actor Mr. William (Bill) Holden and TV personality, Mr. Don Hunt, toured the newly independent East African country to hunt and collect a treasure trove of the big game trophies. Mr. Holden and Mr. Hunt found Kenya both warm and welcoming. And as the pair toured different parts of the country, they bonded even as their passion for hunting big game waned.
Soon, they realized that the sheer pleasure they received from the African "bush experience" was not from the killing of wildlife but rather from the great sceneries of natural wild wonder in a timeless natural environment.
And as fate would have it, they made a pact to start protecting wildlife. Their plan gave rise to an Animal Orphanage, a privately owned center for the care and rehabilitation of the young, abandoned, sick or otherwise vulnerable animals with a view to eventually return them to the their natural habitat in the wild.
The two nature lovers found a stretch of pristine rangeland and began developing the first project of its kind in Africa – The Mount Kenya Game Ranch.
Soon, Mr. Holden and Mr. Hunt were joined by Julian McKeand, a professional hunter turned game warden, and Iris, a German-born art and Africa enthusiast, who would later become Mr. Hunt’s wife.
They eventually found their perfect site – some 1,216 acres of rangeland nestling in the foothills of Mount Kenya.

The 1,216-acre farm was all but devoid of wildlife. It bordered a dense forest and the Mount Kenya National Park.

Note: All the Founders – Bill Holden, Don and Iris Hunt and Julian McKeand are deceased.
The Story of the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy is as full of color, romance and memorable incident – both human and animal – as any of the classic Out of Africa sagas.
At the heart of the project is the ANIMAL ORPHANAGE, a privately owned and funded facility, unique in East Africa, for the care and rehabilitation of young, abandoned, sick or otherwise vulnerable animals and their eventual return to the wild.
Kenya was newly independent of British colonial rule and under the Republic’s founding President, “Mzee” Jomo Kenyatta, they found the reborn “Black African” land both a warm and welcoming place – and of beauty beyond description.
From day one, for all the partners, Kenya would remain “Timeless Africa”. It would take up many hours of deep and meaningful musings around the campfire on safari, or, more soberly, at breakfast at the ranch, watching the snowy peaks of Mount Kenya gleaming in the early light.

A Memorial to Bill

The sudden death of Mr. Holden in 1981 shocked Mr. Hunt and Iris but the couple remained committed to the project and continued to meet most of the costs from their personal earnings and savings.

They were joined by actress Stefanie Powers in contributing to the creation of a unique permanent memorial to their close friend through the fulfillment of his long-standing wish to draw the new generations of young Africans into the cause of preserving their own natural heritage. He had in mind a program of encouragement, information and education and it was for this purpose that the William Holden Wildlife Education Center was developed.

They were joined by actress Stefanie Powers in contributing to the creation of a unique permanent memorial to their close friend through the fulfillment of his long-standing wish to draw the new generations of young Africans into the cause of preserving their own natural heritage.
He had in mind a program of encouragement, information and education and it was for this purpose that the William Holden Wildlife Education Center was developed.
The inception of the Conservation Education program by the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy is a big plus towards Bill’s dream.
More students and organized groups will be accommodated into the program.
+ Stephanie Powers is no longer a Director.
+ No. of students up to 10,000 per year.
+ We currently run an education program.

Future Plans

The Mount Kenya Game Ranch/Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy is now a recognized and significant link in the world-wide network of conservation organizations.

Kenya has come a long way in the field of conservation, with its various Tourism & Wildlife Services still maintaining the largest land area in Africa given over exclusively to wild flora and fauna.

As always, the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy will make its contribution, not least with a main objective of restocking the forest parks with its own emblematic Bongo Antelope.

The most remarkable of the Conservancy’s exotic stock are:
1. A breeding herd of the rare mountain bongo, now extinct on Mount Kenya, which forms part of a program to return the species to the wild.
2. A breeding herd of 30 very rare white zebra, offspring of the last of their kind, rescued from extinction many years ago in the arid northern Kenya range. these are now the only specimens of their kind left alive in Africa.

 


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