Our Mission - Protecting Wildlife and Wild Places
RSCF is dedicated to preserving biodiversity through hands-on conservation programs rooted in sound science. We employ the "Flagship Species" concept to identify and conserve high profile, priority species
in order to leverage protection for the ecosystems they represent.
LATEST NEWS - MERU BONGO AND RHINO CONSERVATION TRUST
Kenya on Path to Establish New Mountain Bongo and Black Rhino Sanctuary on Mt. Kenya
MERU, Kenya, Aug. 4, 2022--The Kenya Forest Service Board approved an application for a Special User License requested by the Meru County Government, Kenya, to establish a 250-acre parcel of forest land in the Mt. Kenya Forest Reserve as the first phase of a new Mountain Bongo and Black Rhino sanctuary. The National Environmental Management Authority approval process is underway.
This is good news for the IUCN red-listed Critically Endangered Mountain Bongo antelope, whose large healthy population in Florida has been propagated for repatriation back to its native Kenyan home. Robust family groups of Bongos are being raised and managed by the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation (RSCF) in Florida, USA. Meru County Government is championing the new Bongo and Black Rhino Sanctuary through an ongoing Public Private People Partnership (PPPP) that helps propel Kenya's National Bongo Recovery and Action Plan (2019-2023) into tangible conservation action.
Once distributed across Mt. Kenya, the Aberdares, Mau, Eburru Forest and elsewhere, the wild mountain bongo population has declined to fewer than 100 animals due to habitat degradation, forest fragmentation, poaching, and other human impacts. On Mt. Kenya, once the stronghold for this animal, the mountain bongo has disappeared in the wild. This project aims to restore the wild Mt. Kenya population, engage local communities in eco-tourism and eco-friendly sustainable agriculture, and leverage protection for biodiversity across the Mt. Kenya ecosystem.
The Meru Bongo and Rhino Conservation Trust is entrusted with the implementation of the project guided by the following stakeholders: the Meru County Government, Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Wildlife Service, Meru Bongo and Rhino Conservation Trust, Ntimaka and Kamulu Community Forest Associations, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Rare Species Conservatory Foundation, and Florida International University's Tropical Conservation Institute.
The Bongo Repatriation PPPP project was featured and shared as a model for the conservation of critically endangered wildlife species at the recent International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Africa Protected Areas Congress (APAC) held in Kigali, Rwanda in July 2022. It was the first meeting of leaders, citizens, and interest groups from all over Africa who gathered to talk about the role of protected areas in preserving nature, protecting Africa's vital wildlife, providing vital ecosystem services, promoting sustainable development, and keeping Africa's cultural heritage and traditions alive.
The Meru Bongo and Rhino Conservation Trust, in partnership with the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation, will facilitate the successful transfer of the Mountain Bongo from Florida to Kenya and subsequent generations' sustained reintroduction into the Mt. Kenya Forest. A large healthy population of Black Rhinos currently thrive at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya and will be connected to the new sanctuary and the greater Mt. Kenya ecosystem over time through a series of wildlife corridors enabling further recovery of the species.
This initiative will be carried out in stages, with Bongos introduced into the sanctuary during the first phase and Black rhinos introduced in the second. The returned Bongos will be placed in spacious, specially built, fence-protected enclosures where they will be closely observed to ensure their acclimation. The new sanctuary enables Bongo groups to breed and thrive, providing future generations to be rewilded into Mt. Kenya's forest ecosystem.
This project demonstrates the first effort in several decades of a public-private partnership of its kind in Kenya aimed to re-introduce a wildlife species that had gone extinct to the northern slope of the Mount Kenya Forest. It brings together key stakeholders with the highest level of experience and expertise in wildlife conservation to join hands with the local communities to bring back and protect rare species for benefit of conservation and economic development.
The Bongo and Rhino initiative exemplifies the core of community-based conservation as a long-term, multi-stakeholder, public-private partnership.
For more information, visit the County Government of Meru website.
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How We Work - Conservation in Real Time
Our world is changing. Global pandemics, climate change, habitat loss, pollution, natural resource management and sustainability, illegal wildlife trade along with human/wildlife conflict are but a few of the difficult challenges facing wildlife conservation. RSCF's team of scientists, researchers and partners use current fact-based, scientific research and methods to identify and develop real-time strategies to save wildlife and wild places.
Working with our partners, science teams and staff, RSCF develops actionable conservation strategies to protect species and habitats in peril. Capacity building, collaboration, breeding and recovery programs, protected area policies, and training to combat illegal wildlife trade are just a few examples of conservation planning at work. Minimizing bureaucracy is key to creating conservation programs that lead to action and results.
RSCF is not encumbered by complex administration. We focus on conservation priorities and spend time and money where it matters most--directly benefiting wildlife. From field work in a particular place, habitat acquisition, or endangered species husbandry, we act swiftly and decisively with the understanding that critical species and environments simply cannot wait for a bureaucratic process to devise a strategy to help them.
Strong Partners Build Strong Programs
RSCF and FIU formally teamed in 2014 to launch a broad interdisciplinary and international conservation platform named the Tropical Conservation Institute (TCI) under FIU’s College of Arts, Sciences and Education (CASE). In partnership with the RSCF, the Institute of the Environment in the College of Arts & Sciences addresses extinctions by empowering FIU graduates and conservation practitioners to protect ecosystems and species in the tropics and sub-tropics. TCI leverages FIU’s broad portfolio of research, education, and outreach programs focused on tropical and sub-tropical ecosystems. TCI builds upon the years of innovative and successful conservation methods and programs developed by RSCF and combine them with FIU programs to position TCI on the leading edge of tropical conservation action, education, research and outreach.
Dominica Parrot Controversy after Hurricane Maria
RSCF, along with over 40 national and international researchers, veterinarians, and conservation leaders are continuing to express grave concerns regarding the March 17, 2018 transfer of endemic, rare parrots from Dominica to Germany. In the link below, read the latest communications, including a link to questionable CITES documents, shared on May 1, 2018 with the Executive Director of the United Nations Programme as well as representatives within CITES, the government of Dominica, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the European Union.
January 24, 2019
Birds Caribbean publishes a follow-up to The Guardian in-depth reporting on the removal of parrots from Dominica to Germany.