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KENYA WILDLIFE SERVICE. Conservation of Eastern Bongo: Kenya’s Experience Dr. Charles Musyoki, PhD, OGW Senior Scientist Department of Species Conservation.

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Presentation on theme: "KENYA WILDLIFE SERVICE. Conservation of Eastern Bongo: Kenya’s Experience Dr. Charles Musyoki, PhD, OGW Senior Scientist Department of Species Conservation."— Presentation transcript:

1 KENYA WILDLIFE SERVICE

2 Conservation of Eastern Bongo: Kenya’s Experience Dr. Charles Musyoki, PhD, OGW Senior Scientist Department of Species Conservation Programs

3 The broader context of mountain bongo conservation  Endemic to Kenya’s endangered highland forest  Especially susceptible to human encroachment  Symbolic of health of endangered forest ecosystem  Forest ecosystem is a vital water tower, crucial to wellbeing of Kenyan people  Possibly sub-Saharan Africa’s most endangered large mammal  Healthy populations exist in Europe and North America totaling in excess of 500 animals

4 Bongo conservation history  Aberdare National Park established in 1950  Bongo exported to Europe & North America in the 70’s & 80’s where captive populations flourished  Wild populations crashed in latter part of 20 th century  In early part of 21st century, bongo considered effectively extinct in wild  In 2004,18 bongo repatriated to captive Kenyan herd  Four isolated populations since rediscovered totaling ~100 animals  2008 classified as critically endangered ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●● ● ● ●● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●●

5 Trends in numbers and Distribution (Bongo) AberdareMount KenyaEburruMauLondianiCherangani WildCaptive Locally Extinct

6 Current bongo range in Kenya

7 Fragmentation of bongo populations  Each area of bongo habitat is effectively an island  60% of mammalian extinctions have occurred in island populations  Isolation & small population size increases extinction risk  Loss of GD  Reduced fitness, survivorship etc  Susceptibility to catastrophes  Demographic stochasticity  Chance fluctuations in births, deaths, sex ratios

8 Captive bongo in Kenya  The Mount Kenya Game Ranch Ltd. was established in 1967  The purpose of the Game Ranch was to create a sanctuary for rare and endangered species and educate the public about conservation  The rare Mountain Bongo was chosen as its logo and work towards its protection and insurance of survival of the species was amongst others commenced immediately.  In 2004, the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy was founded to assist with the wildlife Programs of the Mount Kenya Game Ranch.  Over 300,000 Kenyan students have attended wildlife education programs of the Conservancy and the Foundation free of charge.

9 Bongo breeding  Captive breeding of bongo at the MKWC/MKGR dates back 40yrs.  The founder herd was 10 individuals (4:6), 5 (2:3) bred successfully as captured in the international studbook.  In January 2004, 13 American institutions donated 18 (4:14) bongos “US bongo” (17 adults and 1 sub adult female.) to supplement a resident herd of 18 (8:10) (adults 12, sub adults 2 and young 4) totalling 36 (12:24). (Adults are 2yrs and above, sub adults 1 to 2 yrs, young are below one year).  A total of 10 from the original US herd managed to breed.  First calving comes at averagely 3yrs which means the start breeding at about 2yrs. They calve after about 9 months.  Presently, there are a total of 68 (31:37) bongos in the facility. Adults 49(20:29) sub adults 8 (4:4) and 11 (7:4) young.  Of these, a total of 24 have US herd lineage.

10 Population growth

11 POPULATION GROWTH FROM 2004 YEARMALESFEMALESTOTAL

12 THE US HERD ADAPTATION  On arrival, the US herd was quarantined for about one year with females sorted into two herds each with one male with breeding recommendation from the PM2000 program.  The first two weeks, 4 bongos were lost to what was later discovered to have been a strain of Theileria called Taurotrogi. Several animals followed in the subsequent weeks. Up to eight animals may have succumbed to the theileria. A total of 13 have since died. Some due to intra-specific aggression/accidents, Euthanasia following reproductive system relapse and some due to e-coli.  Suppressed immune systems due the lengthy duration of non exposure to tick borne diseases  The surviving five animals and the offspring are believed to have developed resistance today.

13 CONDITIONING FOR RELEASE PROTOCOL  After weaning, animals are moved out to a 100 acre piece of wilderness area an extension of the mountain forest along Nanyuki River a typical bongo habitat within the breeding facility.  While in there,  Human contact is kept at minimum and an encounter is made unpleasant.  Commercial feed supplements are gradually withdrawn to encourage dependence on natural browse.  Due to the limited range in the facility, natural browse is foraged from the nearby mount Kenya forest to supplement  We however still supplement their food and mineral requirements depending on availability of natural supply.

14 Conservation planning for bongo  National bongo conservation task force  National stakeholders workshop  Vision  Goal  Strategic objectives  Activities

15 THANK YOU


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