Mountain Bongo Antelope Recovery Program, Kenya
This program aims to expand and manage in situ and ext situ bongo populations for repatriation, translocation, and eventual reintroduction into native bongo habitat. Ultimately these efforts compliment and help restore wild bongo populations throughout the Aberdares, Mau, Eburu and Mt. Kenya.
On January 29, 2004, at 8:00 p.m., an Air Transport International DC-8 freighter touched down in Nairobi carrying 18 captive-bred mountain bongo antelope and two tons of antelope feed, consummating RSCF's 10-year campaign to repatriate bongo from the U.S. to Kenya.
The mountain bongo repatriation project represents a rare milestone in wildlife conservation, aiming to restore a critically endangered flagship species to self-sustaining levels in the wild from captive U.S. zoo stock. The repatriated bongos are founders for a long-term breeding effort at the Mt. Kenya Wildlife Conservancy whose descendants will be gradually acclimated to the wild over future generations. Ultimately, the program seeks to restore a sustainable wild population within the Mt. Kenya World Heritage Site via close coordination with the Kenya Wildlife Service.
FROM THE FIELD - In conjunction with the Repatriation Program, RSCF Research Associate Lyndon Estes has been investigating the ecology of mountain bongo in Kenya. His formative research utilizes habitat modeling, remote sensing techniques, mt-DNA analysis, camera-traps and direct-tracking methods to determine habitat use by bongo, identify key conservation areas, and set long-term management priorites for the Aberdares and Mt. Kenya.