Kenya-Wildlife -Conservation

Saving Kenya's endangered Mountain Bongo antelopes


Kenya's ministry of Tourism and Wildlife is embarking on its so-called National Recovery and Action Plan to save the critically endangered Mountain Bongo population.

The plan launched on Monday is looking to address the myriad challenges facing the Mountain Bongo and in effect reverse their population decline. 

It will be implemented by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) in partnership with private and community conservancies and trusts. 

With fewer than 100 Bongos left in the wild, the Mountain Bongo has been  classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as a critically-endangered species. 

In  spite of its threatened status, there is not enough focus on the plight of this magnificent antelope which is endemic to Kenya, as compared to other wildlife such as rhinos, elephants, or lions. 

The launch of the plan will rectify this trend by highlighting the precarious status of the Mountain Bongo. 

Key  interventions will focus on security, human activities, disease prevention, species interaction, enhancing breeding programs and policy  harmonization. 

From a  security perspective, KWS will make provisions for the creation of  Intensive Protection Zones staffed by a permanent security force engaged  in daily patrols, anti-poaching and de-snaring activities. 

To  manage human activity around Mountain Bongo habitats, KWS and her partners will work with Community Forest Associations and host communities to curb illegal activities and enhance sustainable  practices. 

The strategy will leverage on-going local and international efforts to prevent extinction of this iconic species. 

In  2010, KWS brought together all the Mountain Bongo conservation players,  both local and international. 

The purpose was to pinpoint what was  ailing the species and to chart a way forward towards the recovery of  their population. 

The  initiative resulted in the formation of the National Bongo Task Force  (NBTF) and the idea to develop a National Bongo Recovery and Action Plan  was born. 

This was to ensure co-ordinated efforts that include  surveillance of the wild population, protection of their habitats,  conservation education and advocacy programs for communities living  around Mountain Bongo ranges, as well as captive and in-situ breeding  programs. 

To support the  survival of the Mountain Bongo, ongoing local and international efforts  are establishing the locations and numbers of the wild populations, and securing and protecting their habitats, with captive and in-situ  breeding programs to supplement the wild populations. 

The Bongo Surveillance program (BSP) has been central in establishing the  current locations and numbers of the wild populations. 

“Our  work, along with the, communities and conservation partners will ensure  that the critically endangered Mountain Bongo population starts to  thrive in our country once again. The Bongo is part of Kenyan culture,  heritage and identity: it is our collective responsibility to protect  it," said Cabinet Secretary for tourism and wildlife, Najib Balala.


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