Found only in Kenya, the Mountain or Eastern Bongo (Tragelaphus Eurycerus Isaaci) is critically endangered (IUCN Red List).The Bongo Surveillance Project is the only organisation in Kenya specifically monitoring the critically endangered Mountain “Eastern” Bongo in the wild. Over the last few years, the Bongo Surveillance Project (BSP) has been at the forefront of wild Bongo monitoring through a unique surveillance programme. The highly knowleable team, comprised of reformed local poachers, have discovered that there are small isolated groups of mountain bongo, still surviving in the wild, living in Kenya’s highland forests. These last precious groups are in need of immediate protection
The surveillance requires specialist knowledge and equipment. The BSP utilise innovation and new technology such as GPS mapping and remote-sensing camera traps for monitoring and mapping the Bongo hotspots, of Mt Kenya, Aberdares, Eburu and Mau Forest complex. The data forms a crucial baseline about bongo home ranges, habitat preferences and threats to existence.
By collecting research, monitoring and carrying out surveillance in these forests (Aberdares, Mt Kenya, Mau and Eburu) the BSP actively measures the conservation benefits of their activities. Records are maintained ranging from video film (first time ever recorded video of bongo in the wild – June 2013) to surveillance data – i.e. details of the bongo presence in these areas. They record illegal data whilst on surveillance - such as evidence of poaching, snaring, charcoal kiln production and illegal timber harvesting - and report to the appropriate authorities.
Technology is only part of the process, the BSP trackers who come from the local communities use traditional tracking methods and experience gathered from many years in these forests. They are integral link into the communities, and act as representatives for “bongo conservation”. BSP monitoring has had the added conservation benefit of seeing deeper into forest areas that are not traditionally visited by regular authorities.
Bongo Habitat Viability Study 2015 – Kenyan Forests - over 8000 feet
- Aberdares Forest - Kanjwiri, Honi, S Aberdares -2-3 Bongo groups – 3 areas (Potential 50)
- SE Mt Kenya Forest - Ragati – Bongo group – (Potential 10- 15).
- Eburu Forest – Eburu is 87 kmsq – isolated forest cut off from Mau (Potential 10 bongo).
- Maasai Mau Forest Complex. (Potential 20+ bongo – 2 - new bongo groups discovered May 2013)
- SW Mau Forest (Potential 2 groups) Potential up to 10 bongo – 2 areas