Our Stories

Baby Bongo Imperiled

Msituni’s survival in its natural habitat on Mount Kenya National Park signals the success of a long cherished dream project: The regeneration of the rarest, most valuable and perhaps the ‘most precious’ of the great African antelopes, the mountain bongo.

Pigmy Hippo

Our pair is the descendant of a pair of pygmy hippos given to President Kenyatta by then Liberian President; Tubman in 1969. The Mount Kenya Game Ranch, at the time, arranged for their transfer and has been able to provide their home and care over the years. The pigmy hippos are gregarious and territorial and live in both male and female herds. They give birth to a single calf after a gestation period of about 6 to 7 months. They young one stay with the mother for several years. They are extremely rare in the wild – there is probably only a few thousand of them around. Their biggest threats are loss of forest habitat due to the timber industry and being hunted by man for meat and tusk.

Mount Kenya

Mount Kenya is our greatest natural heritage. It is also an all-important life giving eco system, of paramount relevance to the people living within a radius of thousands of miles. The Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy aims to help preserve this unique ecosystem by saving and breeding for re-introduction the indigenous species of wildlife that play such a crucial part of its existence.

After 40 years of conservation, soon all eyes will be on Mount Kenya when the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy will announce its first release of Bongo Antelope back to the mountain forests, where they are now all but extinct.

Baby Leopard, Azizi

Before Azizi came to our care, the baby leopard was found wondering in a human settlement, killing livestock. She seemed to have been abandoned by her family before she could learn to hunt on her own. She could have been killed but luckily, the matter was reported to the Kenya Wildlife Service personnel who trapped and brought her to the care of the conservancy at the age of 6 months.

Safari the rare Mangaboon

A “romantic encounter” between our rescued olive baboon when she was still a teen and a related ‘visitor’ (a male golden bellied mangaby), which was in transit from West Africa gave rise to “Mangaboon”, perhaps the only baboon of its kind in existence today.


Lupita aka Kipenzi is a baby giraffe that was found abandoned by Maasai herders in Ol Donyiro area. It had a fresh umbilical cord and wounds on her tail; a signal that she may have survived a brutal attack that most likely killed her mother. The Kenya Wildlife Service contacted us to pick and raise her until her release into Ol Jogi Conservancy a year later. Lupita came into the orphanage on the day when the Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o won a trophy at the Oscars in the U.S.A hence her name "Lupita”.

Mary the Elephant

Somewhere in the vast grasslands of Tsavo National Park in South Eastern Kenya, there’s an elephant that owes its success in life to the care she received in our orphanage. She may be a matriach of a whole herd of elephants today but at the perilous start of her life, the orphanage paired her with a ‘mother’ to hand her the lifeline she needed to grow strong.

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Batian: A star is born

"For a golden 13 years we could not imagine life without Batian, my second best friend after the first “Bwana” of the house, my husband Don. To us, the handsome cheetah was a much loved adopted member of the family," - Ms Iris Hunt.

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Chucky the Cheeky Hog

Twice every year, just before the rains, there is an active underground wave across the conservancy. And if you are foolish enough to put your ear to a warthog burrow you will probably hear a lot of squeaks and squeals as the new arrivals in the warthog world put their lungs to the test. One of them left the underground dungeons to rise to become ‘ambassador’ for the conservancy and we named him Chucky.

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Baby Cheetah finds new home

While taking cover for the rains under a thick bush, a Maasai herder heard a mewing voice. He slowly walked towards the direction of the sound and alas! “This must be a cat,” he thought. There it was; a little frightened cheetah cab. He lifted her gently, covered it with his blanket, took her to his home where he kept her warm by the fire place and fed her with cow milk. Finally rescue came and the cheetah is growing healthy and strong at Mt Kenya Game Ranch.

Foxy Lady: African Bat Earned Fox

“In the league of funny-looking creatures with odd evolutionary adaptations, there’s a small mammal up there along with the preposterously long-nosed elephant or the ladder-necked giraffe. The Bat-eared fox – the “Princeling” of the animal kingdom. I’ve had a female of the species for years and, like any other, she has – perforce – no anthropomorphic characteristics,” Writes Iris Hunt.

The Princess and the Beast

An unplanned visit of royalty in our camp turns hazardous with a young elephant in trouble and her mad mother on the rampage. It seemed to be all in a day’s work back then, more or less. But reflecting on it now, many years later, it would seem like a fairy tale, my mind playing tricks. Yet we’ve still got the pictures to prove it all happened – an unexpected, perilous adventure as it turned out with real-life royals.

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Operation Ostrich

This is a nostalgic story, cherished memories of a great safari and a “bush-tale” about that most extraordinary of flightless birds, the African Ostrich. For generations, the tail plumage of the great bird had been an essential part of the ceremonial “dress code” of the Turkana people.

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Lions in my Lap

"I have had Lions in my life for all the 40 years I’ve lived in Africa. In my lap many times as endearing, defenseless orphans. In the wild as the most awesome of the predatory killers, living in perfect harmony with their environment. In my imagination – in many mixed images – in the course of reading the interwoven history of Art and Humanity,” Iris Hunt.

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Patas Monkey Hanky Panky

Do animals fall in love? Have you ever wondered? Well, I have. This is a story that starts several years ago when a Patas Monkey came to lodge with us at the Mount Kenya Animal Orphanage. They’re very rare in Kenya but there is still a small colony of them spread out on the large cattle ranches just North of Nanyuki. You can sometimes see them sitting on fence posts by the side of the road as if they’re watching the cars go by,” By Iris Hunt.

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Saving the Bushback Baby Karen

One of the workers at Mr. Hunt’s house was frightened by a strange noise coming from the surrounding bush. He was frightened and wondered if it could be a large snake making such a cry. The next day, on hearing the cry again, he reported to Peter the manager. Peter sent his little boy Lorian to go with the game scout Kingori to investigate. Following the sound they wondered what animal this could be. Lorian, 10, had no fear and went straight through the bush towards the sound. There he was.

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Brandy for breakfast

This is the story of an African Caracal Cat. When I think of Brandy it is of a reddish golden color of soft clean warm fur, a subtle purr and full of unconditional love and confidence. I found our young female African lynx at the orphanage with two minute furry copies.

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Rescuing Grevy Zebra

It was the Turkana tracker who saw him first: a solitary stallion about a mile away on the open plains of northern Kenya. At once Don Hunt slammed the open Toyota catching truck into gear and we lurch ed through the cool desert dawn towards the distant grey speck which Nyangau, the eagle-eyed Turkana tracker, assured us was the Grevy Zebra whose spoor he had found the day before. In 1977 Mr. Hunt was probably the best animal-catcher in Africa.

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To Hear a Lion Roar

To Hear a Lion Roar. On Safari in Kenya’s Maasai Mara by our loyal supporter Juliane Polster. For me, “Leo,” the famous MGM Lion has always been synonymous with the most awe-inspiring sound of the wild that is until I realized: “Leo” was born in captivity… Many years later and thousand of miles away, we have left a cloudy Nairobi behind us following the footsteps of Leo’s ancestors. In less than an hour, the vast expanse of one of the world’s most famous game reserves appears below us...

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Story of 3 Cheetahs

Bill, Duke and Diana! A Life Story by Iris Hunt. This story is for Duma Duke, his siblings Bill and Diana. It’s five years ago now that we had a phone call from an excited Lady in Nairobi. She had a story about a cheetah who, a few weeks before, had given birth to no less than 10 cubs.

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Feagan the Fox

An African Christmas Fable …as told to Iris Hunt by the Cheetah Duma Duke. Once upon a time Mount Kenya was the mightiest of all the mountains in Africa. Every child in Kenya knows that Father Christmas has a house on Mount Kenya.

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