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How Mountain Bongos Reclaim Their Ancestral Range

In a remarkable conservation effort, critically endangered mountain bongos have been released into the wild in Kenya.

These magnificent antelopes, once common in Kenya’s Mt. Kenya forest, are now so scarce that they are classified as “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

 The total wild population of these elusive creatures is less than 100 individuals. The initiative is led by the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy, which breeds these beautiful animals in captivity and then reintroduces them into their natural habitat.

Recently, a total of 10 bongos were reintroduced into the Mt. Kenya forest, which was historically part of their range.

The decline of mountain bongos is attributed to factors such as poaching, live trade, and hunting for trophies, skin, and horns.

Additionally, a rinderpest outbreak in 1980 further decimated their numbers, leaving less than 100 individuals in the wild.

To aid their recovery, the conservancy is training the bongos to survive in the wild, gradually reducing their dependence on provided food. The goal is to release 50 mountain bongos by 2025.

Although the Mawingu Mountain Bongo Sanctuary is currently fenced, plans are underway to remove the fence once a certain population threshold is reached.

These efforts are crucial not only for the survival of the mountain bongos but also for maintaining balance in the forest ecosystem they call home.

As seed dispersers and potential prey for predators, their presence plays a vital role in maintaining the health of the ecosystem.

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