Excellent news for wildlife watchers — 5 mountain bongos have been launched right into a Kenyan sanctuary earlier this week. The extraordinarily uncommon antelopes hadn’t been seen wandering the wooded slopes of Mount Kenya, Africa’s second-highest peak, for nearly 30 years.
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Bongos used to freely roam Kenya’s forests, however their numbers have dipped beneath 100 within the wild. Conservationists have been breeding captive bongos, hoping to repopulate the wild.
“Lastly, these bongos are being rewilded,” Najib Balala, Kenya’s minister of tourism and wildlife, mentioned on the opening of the Mawingu Mountain Bongo Sanctuary, as reported by Phys Org. “What a celebration. What a hit.”
People, predictably, are accountable for the species’ critically low numbers. Colonial-era hunters prized the darkish brown animals with their slim white stripes and spiral horns. They turned bongo hides into rugs and used the heads and horns as wall ornaments. Individuals additionally poached bongos for bushmeat, and human habitation encroached on their homelands. Later, within the twentieth century, bongos additionally caught cattle ailments.
The final time somebody noticed a wild bongo round Mount Kenya was in 1994. Sadly, it was solely a carcass. Some bongos dwelling in American zoos have been relocated to Kenya within the early 2000s to start out the rewilding program. These pioneers have been tame, depending on folks and unused to Kenya’s local weather. The rewilding program allowed subsequent generations to be extra unbiased and comply with their pure, wild instincts. These launched this week have been chosen as a result of they’re wholesome, good at solo foraging and don’t belief people.
The plan is to launch 5 extra bongos each six months. By 2050, Kenya Wildlife Service hopes that a minimum of 750 bongos will wander Kenya’s equatorial forests.
Whereas bongos are beautiful animals, they’ve typically been overshadowed by much more charismatic megafauna like rhinos, elephants and lions. Now, it’s the bongo’s flip. “These are those we’ve got ignored for a very long time, and now, we’re placing emphasis on them,” Balala mentioned.
By way of Phys Org
Lead picture through Pexels