Meet the Bongo Surveillance Project team

It is no exaggeration to say that this small group of committed Kenyans can consider themselves responsible for bringing the plight of the mountain bongo into the public consciousness. Through their dedication and hard work, they have shed light on the threatened species and raised awareness about the importance of conservation efforts. Their efforts have not only helped to protect the mountain bongo but have also inspired others to join in the fight to save this rare and beautiful animal.

Actual team members

Mike Prettejohn

FOUNDER

The visionary behind BSP, Mike has dedicated the past 20 years to leading a team of trackers in the quest to uncover the elusive mountain bongo’s presence and distribution in Kenya. Through his unwavering dedication, previously undiscovered populations of the majestic bongo have been uncovered, establishing himself as the ultimate champion for their survival in the wild. Born in Kenya in 1932, Mike initially worked in cattle ranching before transitioning into a career as a professional hunter.

Peter Munene

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT OFFICER

With his background in environmental science and dedication to wildlife conservation, Peter advocates for the protection of the bongo population. He engages communities and schools to raise awareness and take action against threats to these animals. Using innovative strategies and effective communication, Peter is a valuable contributor to the project inspiring and educating, particularly the youth, on the crucial role of these flagship species in preserving the forests.

Laban Mwangi

HEAD RANGER

Growing up on the slopes of the Aberdare ranges, Laban interest in conservation was sparked by his father’s stories of the bongo. Formerly a farmer in Kinangop, he joined BSP in 2005 and has since worked in Mt. Kenya, Aberdares, Eburu, and May Forest. Laban is experienced in using GPS and camera tracks for tracking. He collaborated closely with KFS and KWS to conserve the ecosystem and promote the tree planting programme. He ensures smooth teamwork to protect the endangered bongo species.

Josphat Korage

DEPUTY HEAD RANGER

Josphat leads the BSP team in the Aberdares. Originally a farmer in Mweiga, his passion for the forest ecosystem led him to a career in conservation, joining BSP in 2007. Josphat has extensive experience in the identification of bongo individuals, specialising in tracking, analysing grazed vegetation and spores, and managing camera traps in the Aberdares. He works with KWS to ensure collaboration to protect the forest ecosystem.

India Taylor-Smith

OPERATION COORDINATOR

India is a dedicated conservation enthusiast, currently finishing an MSc in Conservation Science and Practice at Imperial College London. Prior to joining BSP, India worked with the Mara Elephant Project as part of the research team, gaining hands-on experience in data-led conservation. She has worked with several charities and environmental NGOs, specialising in campaigns, public affairs, and communications.

Honorary team members

Peter Mwangi

HONORARY HEAD TRACKER

Peter has been a dedicated member of the project since its very beginning, working closely with Mike from the start – his early involvement in the project has led to him being recognised as an honorary team member. He played a significant role in training original team members, including Matthews Gichuri, a former poacher with incredible tracking abilities. Peter and the team have made it a priority to recruit and retrain poachers like Gichuri, with the ultimate goal of steering them away from harmful activities.

Juliette Shears

HONORARY PROGRAMME MANAGER

Juliette has been a pivotal member of BSP. Establishing the wildlife clubs alongside Peter Munene, she developed an educational curriculum recognised by the Kenya Government and excelled in securing donors and writing successful applications. Juliette coordinated field updates, for BSP, with the International Bongo Studbook. She works closely with Peter Comport in compiling the Bongo Surveillance Project Review Books, published in 2020, 2022, 2024 through Lulu.com

Peter Comport

HONORARY RANGER

Peter joined the project in 2008. Qualified as a Game Ranger in 1999 at The Moholoholo Animal Rehabilitation Centre in South Africa, Peter used his experience in the field to analyse mountain bongo imagery, with a focus on new calves. To date, he has recorded a total of 70 individual calves, primarily in Aberdare and Mau forests. This information is shared with trackers through workshops and the periodic issue of the Bongo Surveillance Review book. The latest copy can be found at Lulu.com, with the title “Bongo Surveillance Project 2024 Review”.

mike@mountainbongo.org

+254 733 642 320

Sangare Conservancy, Mweiga, Aberdare National Park, Kenya

We are grateful to our international and local partners, as well as individual contributors, for the photos used on this website. Thank you for your support.