2/02 – An endangered almost extinct Kenyan Mountain Bongo calf has been born at the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy.
The birth of the striking Mountain Bongo calf, provides renewed purpose towards the survival of the critically endangered antelopes’ species.
The birth, recorded late last week, has effectively raised the population of Kenyan Mountain Bongo antelopes at the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy (MKWC) to 67. A similar birth was recorded on 31st December 2017 with several more expected this year.
Speaking when he confirmed the birth, Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy Wildlife Manager Donald Bunge said efforts to breed the rare Mountain Bongo continues through viable support from Kenyan and international stakeholders.
“The birth has renewed hope for the survival of this rare Mountain Bongo antelope whose population of about 100 in the wild worldwide is still below the threshold of 250 mature individuals required to make a genetically stable population,” Bunge said.
The Kenyan Mountain Bongo, is listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species which is widely recognized as the most comprehensive, objective global approach for evaluating the conservation status of plant and animal species. The Kenyan Mountain Bongo’s population has declined due to unrestricted hunting, poaching, loss of habitat, illegal logging in forests among other reasons.
Located near Nanyuki town, MKWC runs a program that breeds them for repopulation into their natural habitat. It is the only conservancy in the world whose program is undertaken in a semi wild environment.
The Conservancy located at the Mount Kenya Game also hosts the iconic Mount Kenya Safari Club. MKWC’s Bongo Rehabilitation program was named amongst the three most important wildlife projects worldwide in 2006.
The Kenyan Mountain Bongo’s natural habitat include the Aberdares, Mount Kenya, Mau and Eburu Forests. It is one of the two sub-species of Bongo antelopes, the other one being the Lowland Bongo. Kenyan Mountain Bongos are characterized by a striking red chestnut colour with about 9 to 16 white stripes on either side of the torso and long, spiralled horns. They are considered by many as the most beautiful of antelopes. Males weigh up to 450kgs whereas females weigh up 250kgs hence making them the largest and heaviest forest antelopes.