Bongo Surveillance Project - Dublin Zoo, Ireland.

Bongo Surveillance Project

The eastern bongo is critically endangered with fewer than 140 remaining in the wild. Since 2010, Dublin Zoo has provided funding for the Bongo Surveillance Project (BSP), which is based in Kenya. The BSP was founded in 2004 and has a team of expert trackers from the local communities who are dedicated to protecting the remaining wild populations of eastern bongos. These trackers collect information on bongo distribution, their ecological requirements and current threats.
A vital element of the BSP work is the outreach conservation education programme. Local support is essential for any conservation project to succeed and this outreach programme targets local schoolchildren and their communities via Bongo Wildlife Clubs. These clubs arrange visits to bongo sanctuaries and initiate projects such as the use of solar energy, tree nurseries and planting, agricultural projects and fish farms. These projects provide additional income to local communities while taking the pressure off local forests. This, in turn, leads to a reduction in poaching of bongos (and other animals) and a reduction in forest destruction.
Dublin Zoo is home to a breeding group of eastern bongos, which is part of an international zoo breeding programme. This breeding programme provides a vital insurance population for wild bongos and may, one day, provide bongos with reintroduction back into the wild

The eastern bongo is critically endangered with fewer than 140 remaining in the wild. Since 2010, Dublin Zoo has provided funding for the Bongo Surveillance Project (BSP), which is based in Kenya. The BSP was founded in 2004 and has a team of expert trackers from the local communities who are dedicated to protecting the remaining wild populations of eastern bongos. These trackers collect information on bongo distribution, their ecological requirements and current threats.

A vital element of the BSP work is the outreach conservation education programme. Local support is essential for any conservation project to succeed and this outreach programme targets local schoolchildren and their communities via Bongo Wildlife Clubs. These clubs arrange visits to bongo sanctuaries and initiate projects such as the use of solar energy, tree nurseries and planting, agricultural projects and fish farms. These projects provide additional income to local communities while taking the pressure off local forests. This, in turn, leads to a reduction in poaching of bongos (and other animals) and a reduction in forest destruction.

Dublin Zoo is home to a breeding group of eastern bongos, which is part of an international zoo breeding programme. This breeding programme provides a vital insurance population for wild bongos and may, one day, provide bongos with reintroduction back into the wild.


2016 Update

In December, an update was received from the Bongo Surveillance Project. An evaluation of more than 1,000 camera-trap photographs was undertaken to identify individuals. The largest groups of bongo are now in the Aberdares and Maasai Mau forests. The camera traps revealed some interesting behaviours of wild bongos. 

The BSP also completed some initial surveys in forests they had not visited before. These areas have bongo food and a history of bongo but unfortunately did not reveal bongo present now. Most of these forests, which are not national parks, were showing much human intrusion and activity.

Ongoing community work involved meeting with community elders and providing additional employment and income-generating opportunities. They also continued to work with schools through the bongo wildlife clubs.

 

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