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Mountain Bongo Antelope Recovery Program, Kenya


This program aims to expand and manage in situ and ext situ Mountain Bongo populations (Tragelaphus eurycerus isaaci) 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.

For over three decades, the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation has been at the forefront of efforts to save the critically endangered Mountain Bongo Antelope. With less than 100 individuals remaining in the wild, RSCF's US facility has become a vital stronghold, housing robust breeding groups of mountain bongos within a semi-wild enclosure system. Through strategic partnerships with US facilities, RSCF has developed a highly successful breeding program spanning multiple generations, ensuring the fitness and resilience of this endangered species. Building on a precedent-setting conservation initiative in 2004, when 18 mountain bongos were repatriated from the US to Kenya, RSCF is poised to continue this crucial process. Plans are underway for more repatriations, with the next group of 25 bongos scheduled to return to Kenya in late 2024, marking a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to restore and protect and bolster the mountain bongo population.


2021 - Fast-forward 16 years and the program enters its second phase with the creation of the The Meru Bongo & Rhino Conservation Trust. Formally established in April 2021, the project is a broad collaboration between the Meru County Government, Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service, Mt. Kenya Trust, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Rare Species Conservatory Foundation, Micanopy Zoological Preserve, and the Tropical Conservation Institute at Florida International University


The founder bongo group - currently being bred in semi-wild conditions at the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation in Florida- will be translocated to Marania and Muchiene forests in Mt. Kenya Forest Reserve.

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. stock. The repatriated bongos are founders for a long-term breeding effort, with animals sent from the U.S. to Africa held in breeding groups 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 our program partners including Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, The Bongo Surveillance Project, Rhino Ark Charitable Trust, and the Kenya Wildlife Service.

Click links below for program information

For more information CONTACT US.

Meru Bongo Rhino Conservation Trust

2022 update - A major endeavor is underway to restore two iconic mammals to the Mt. Kenya ecosystem.  The newly formed Meru Bongo and Rhino Conservation Trust leads a broad collaboration with Meru County Government, Ntimaka and Kamulu Community Forest Associations, Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Rare Species Conservatory Foundation (Florida, USA) and Florida International University’s Tropical Conservation Institute to coordinate the recovery of Mountain Bongo Antelope and Black Rhinoceros.  Both are critically endangered flagship species that have disappeared from Mt. Kenya’s forests but now have renewed hope in the wild thanks to aggressive protection, proven conservation science and conservation breeding, and effective population management.

As part of Kenya’s comprehensive, national vision for bongo and rhino, the Trust will oversee the development and management of a proposed new sanctuary on Mt. Kenya, infusing breeding bongo and rhino populations across ~139 km2 of the species’ historical mountain range in which Kenya Forest Service has been approached to issue a long term special user license.  The proposed sanctuary will receive bongo antelope from the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation (RSCF) in Florida, which has successfully propagated bongo for over 30 years and long supported bongo conservation in Kenya. This process will be guided and anchored on the elaborate procedures directed by the Kenya Wildlife Service.

Click here for more information. 

FIU Tropical Conservation Institute
Smithsonian Institute
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
Meru Bongo Rhino Sanctuary and Trust
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