Tragelaphus eurycerus isaaci
Kenya Mountain Bongo Partnership
Mountain bongo are the largest, heaviest, and most colourful of the forest antelopes in Africa. They are found in the high-altitude forests of Kenya, and human activity such as hunting and habitat loss are currently their biggest threats.
The elusive antelope of Kenya
Mountain bongo are a Critically Endangered antelope found only in the alpine forests of Kenya. These forests are not only important for local livelihoods but are also critical water catchment areas for Kenya, known as the water towers of Kenya. Conserving mountain bongo protects the incredible diversity of organisms that share the forest and the water supply of much of Kenya.
Finding hope for the bongo
Less than 60 of these elusive antelope remain in the wild, and can only be found in four isolated groups at Mount Kenya, Eburu Forest, the Aberdares, and Mau Complex. Mountain bongo populations declined due to habitat loss, hunting and disease, and now persist in such small numbers that they are unlikely to survive in the long term without assistance. Despite their small numbers, we are fighting for a positive future for the mountain bongo.
We are supporting recovery of this species by working with communities adjacent to the Ragati-Che Forest and Eburu Forest Reserve to protect mountain bongo and their habitat. Our approach includes:
- Using remote cameras and regular forest patrols to improve our knowledge of the distribution and size of the wild mountain bongo population and remaining threats in both Eburu Forest Reserve and Ragati-Che Forest, Mt. Kenya. Working collaboratively with conservation partners and local communities, we’re taking early steps to pave the way for a potential translocation of captive-bred bongo to these areas to bolster the remaining wild population.
- Strengthening inclusive governance of natural resources by documenting local views, concerns and wisdom regarding the mountain bongo and people’s relationship with the forest; and by reinvigorating the Eburu Community Forest Association, which gives surrounding communities a legal platform to engage with their forests for sustainable resource use.
Through this initiative, we are helping to facilitate a locally managed honey cooperative and production facility in Eburu Forest to ease human pressure on forest resources and mountain bongo while providing sustainable revenue for local people.
Our conservation impact
In each of the locations where we work to protect the mountain bongo, we strive to conserve the species and their habitat while also providing opportunities for income generation and improving livelihoods by facilitating a locally managed honey cooperative.
Did you know?
The white stripes on the bongos’ sides are thought to provide them with camouflage in the forest, as they look like the pattern of sunlight and shadow seen on the understory and forest floor.
Together with the following partners and local communities, we’re working to secure a future for mountain bongo in Kenya.