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Conservation planning for the Mountain Bongo

Date Published: 08 Jul, 2010
Conservation planning for the Mountain Bongo

The Mountain Bongo. The Aberdare forest is the bongo stronghold in the country with an estimated population of 100 individuals.

Bongo ranges extends from rainforests of Central Africa from Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Central African Republic Congo and Zaire, Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia. Two sub-species are known; the Western or Lowland Bongo and the Eastern or Mountain Bongo.

In Kenya, there are isolated pockets of the mountain bongo hosting various meta-populations. These include Aberdare ranges, Mt. Kenya, Mau south west forest reserve and Eburru. Bongo is believed to be locally extinct in Londian and Cherangani forests.

Various causes have been documented as having led to the bongo antelope decline, namely; habitat fragmentation, poaching, predation pressure, disease and human factors. However, the genetic effects on the bongo have not been fully accessed. It is more probable that a combination of genetic, physical and biological factors led to the drastic decline of the bongo.

The Aberdare forest is the bongo stronghold in the country with an estimated population of 100 individuals. This represents an 80 per cent decline in numbers that were estimated to be 500 in 1975. Recent and ongoing surveys in the country have estimated 7 individuals in Mount Kenya, 9 in Eburru forest and 9 in Mau forest. There also exist about 64 individuals in a semi-captive facility on the slopes of Mount Kenya.

Bongo conservation presents a major challenge to Kenya Wildlife Service and an expert think-tank known as the National Bongo Conservation Task Force was constituted in 2008 to spearhead efforts to conserve the species. The task force has been consulting ever since to piece together a national bongo conservation strategy.

The efforts of the task force are now bearing fruit as a national stakeholder’s workshop to put together the national action plan for bongo will be held at the end of July 2010.  It is expected that the workshop will spell out prescriptions for the long term conservation of bongo.


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