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CONSERVATION IN REAL TIME--THE MOUNTAIN BONGO REPATRIATION PROGRAM

The Mountain Bongo Recovery Program is a testament to decades of commitment from international conservation organizations. For over 3 decades RSCF has spearheaded this ambitious initiative,  working with diverse partners such as the Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service, Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy, United Nations Development Programme, U.N. Foundation, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Meru County Government, various US zoological institutions, as well as private partners and funders. With the shared vision of returning the critically endangered Mountain Bongo to its natural habitat, this program requires individuals and organizations willing to sustain this mission for decades to come. Only through collective efforts and unwavering partner support will the Mountain Bongo Program achieve the ultimate goal--species restoration and conservation.

RSCF's Mountain Bongo Repatriation Program Timeline

1994

  • Conception of the Program: The Mountain Bongo Repatriation Program is conceived by RSCF director Paul R. Reillo, Ph.D. and RSCF trustee Richard Estes, Ph.D. as a vital initiative to repatriate and sustainably reintroduce endangered mountain bongos to their native habitats in Kenya.

2004

  • First Repatriation: RSCF, in collaboration with the United Nations Foundation, Donner Foundation, UNDP, White Oak Conservation Center, and AZA  zoos, successfully repatriates 18 mountain bongos to the Mount Kenya Game Ranch (soon to become the Mt. Kenya Wildlife Conservancy), marking a significant milestone in this first-of-its-kind conservation effort.

2020

  • Partnership with the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy: RSCF collaborates with the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy on the establishment of the Meru Bongo Rhino Sanctuary, a pioneering public-private partnership aimed at furthering conservation objectives.

2024

  • Official Dedication: The Meru Bongo Rhino Sanctuary is officially dedicated, symbolizing a profound commitment to the preservation of biodiversity and the protection of endangered species.

Late 2024

  • 20th Anniversary Celebration and Second Repatriation: As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first repatriation, RSCF embarks on the second repatriation of 25 mountain bongos to Kenya, reaffirming our dedication to wildlife conservation and habitat restoration.

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Kenya Wildlife Service National Action Plan for the Mountain Bongo

Kenya's National Recovery and Action Plan (2019–2023) for the Mountain Bongo aims to increase the population to 750 individuals in Kenya within 50 years. The plan is designed to save the species from extinction through strategic conservation measures. The plan includes:

  • Repatriation: Founder groups will be managed and bred at sanctuaries next to the Mt. Kenya ecosystem.

  • Landscape protection: The international bongo team will work to protect the landscape and engage communities to protect the species and its forest home.

  • Human activities: Legal activities will be managed to ensure sustainability. 

The plan also includes:

  • Security

  • Community awareness

  • Limited alternative livelihoods

  • Genetic research

  • Demographic research

  • Information feedback mechanisms

Wild Palm Beaches - RSCF's Bongo Program

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