July 30, 2010

Kenya’s Mountain Bongo Faces Extinction

The wild population of a species of antelope that only numbers 103 individuals in east Africa is on the verge of extinction, Kenyan wildlife officials warned Thursday.

The mountain bongo (Tragelaphus eurycerus isaaci) was impacted by habitat loss, genetic factors, predation and disease, said the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) in a statement.

This is the largest mountain antelope species, weighing up to 660 pounds. It has white stripes against a chestnut brown hide, and both sexes have twisted horns. It is found in four forested mountain regions in central Kenya.

The statement said that the mountain bongo is the most threatened antelope species in Kenya and "possibly the most endangered large mammal south of the Sahara."

The mountain bongo is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The KWS said that more than 500 mountain bongos in zoos around the world were originally from the Aberdares forest in central Kenya.


Image Caption: This extraordinary photo includes four Eastern Bongo calves photographed together at the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy. Credit: Wikipedia


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