• May 19, 2024
  • Last Update May 19, 2024 2:15 PM
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Milestone on Mountain Bongo conservation lauded

Milestone on Mountain Bongo conservation lauded

Nanyuki

Wednesday May 8 2024

KNA by Muturi Mwangi

The government has reaffirmed its commitment to protecting the endangered wildlife species including Mountain Bongo antelopes from extinction.

First Lady Rachel Ruto speaking in Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy in Nanyuki as she witnessed the release of 10 Mountain Bongo into the Mawingu Mountain Bongo Sanctuary, Tuesday said that protecting the endangered species from extinction was a bold move that had shown significant progress.

“The release of ten Mountain Bongos into the Mawingu Sanctuary at the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy today is the hope and motivation we all need to continue safeguarding endangered wildlife species and preserving their valuable ecosystems. By releasing these magnificent creatures into their native habitat, we reaffirm our dedication to their survival and well-being,” said the First Lady.

Mrs Ruto stressed the government’s commitment to safeguard the critically endangered wildlife species and protecting their habitat in order to increase their numbers.

The release of the 10 Mountain Bongo into the Mawingu Mountain Bongo Sanctuary brings the total so far in the sanctuary to 24 whereas there are 78 in the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy. This has been a 20 year’s campaign to protect the critically endangered antelopes from extinction.

Speaking at the function, Tourism Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua said that the government was keen on supporting conservation efforts and ensure that the tourism sector was at its peak in order to create employment opportunities for the youth.

‘’The government’s National Recovery and Action Plan for the Mountain Bongo provides a strategic framework for our collective efforts to save this iconic Kenyan species from the brink of extinction. We are laying a firm foundation for the recovery and sustainable management of Mountain Bongo population in Kenya through targeted conservation interventions,” said the CS.

Kenya Wildlife Service, Director-General Dr Erastus Kanga said that wild animals’ recovery has been rising steadily but regretted that the Mountain Bongo were only 100 in the country.

He added KWS in collaboration with partners was working to restore them through situ breeding and rewilding technologies.

‘’Kenya’s wildlife population has been steadily recovering for most species, as evidenced in the recent National Wildlife Census Report 2021. There are a few exceptions for some species, particularly the Mountain Bongo, whose population in the wild is at precarious levels of fewer than 100 individuals occurring in isolated populations in Aberdare’s and other areas,” said Dr. Kanga.

On his part, Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy patron Humphrey Kariuki, said that the number of the endangered antelopes has been increasing though at snail’s pace for the past 20 years courtesy of the 18 Mountain Bongo brought from the US, through National government’s efforts.

He revealed that plans were underway to import more Mountain Bongos from the European Zoos to enhance the genetic diversity.

Meanwhile, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List, antelopes, which are the largest species found in the mountain regions, have been on a downward trajectory in the past 50 years.

Additionally, Kenya has an ambitious plan to achieve a national population of 750 Mountain Bongos in the next 50 years, as enshrined in the long-term vision of the Mountain Bongo National Recovery and Action Plan launched in 2019.

Courtesy: KNA

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