The majestic mountain bongo (Tragelaphus eurycerus isaaci) is a critically endangered forest-dwelling antelope only found in Kenya. This imperilled endemic is at home in the mountainous, indigenous forests of Mt. Kenya, Aberdare, and the Mau Complex. Our field monitoring data suggests that there are fewer than 80 individuals remaining in the wild across 4 separate ecosystems.
We have focused our efforts in two of these ecosystems: Mt. Kenya and Mau Eburu. Here we use camera traps and GIS maps to learn more about bongo demographics, including population size and ranging patterns. Our camera trap and forest security teams come from the neighbouring communities. Using citizen science, we have turned poachers into protectors!
Our ultimate goal is to recover the mountain bongo species to their former glory, roaming Kenya’s mountain forest slopes in large and healthy wild herds. To achieve this, we are drawing on bongo populations found in zoos and captive breeding facilities in Kenya and around the world.
To meet with success we work closely with community stakeholders to bring about tangible forest-friendly economic benefits and establish bio-enterprises to add value to local industries. Citizen surveys with forest-adjacent households help us to better understand attitudes toward the forest environment, to conservation and to mountain bongo in particular. Building from this research, we are able to implement locally relevant programmes to meet with the greatest degree of success for people.
Teamwork is dreamwork! Complex conservation problems can only be solved with collaboration. We work with government, community, NGO and private partners. We would like to acknowledge and thank Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service, Wilder Institute / Calgary Zoo, Bongo Surveillance Project, Mt. Kenya Trust, Eburru Rafiki, Ragati River Management, and the Eburu, Ragati and Chehe Community Forest Associations for their dedication to collaboration.
As a forest‐dependent flagship species of Kenya’s remaining mountain forests, the bongo is in need of immediate protection and population recovery. Want to learn more? Get involved in our efforts to bring this species back from the brink.