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Kenya mulls establishing sanctuary for mountain bongos, black rhinos

An antelope is seen at Nairobi National Park in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, May 19, 2021.

Kenya is on course to establish a sanctuary for mountain bongos (antelope) and black rhinos on the slopes of Mount Kenya to strengthen the conservation of the two critically endangered iconic species.

NAIROBI, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- Kenya is on course to establish a sanctuary for mountain bongos (antelope) and black rhinos on the slopes of Mount Kenya to strengthen the conservation of the two critically endangered iconic species, conservationists said.

The conservationists including Kenya Wildlife Service, Lewa wildlife conservancy, and Kenya Forest Service among others said already, a 250-acre parcel of forest land has been identified in the Mount Kenya Forest Reserve to establish a sanctuary for mountain bongos and the black rhinos, whose survival is threatened by poaching, habitat loss and climatic stresses.

Photo taken on June 20, 2017 shows black rhinos in the Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya. (Xinhua/Chen Cheng)

"This initiative will be carried out in stages, with the bongos introduced into the sanctuary during the first phase and black rhinos introduced in the second," the conservationists said in a joint statement issued in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, on Friday.

Kenya's population of mountain bongos currently stands at 100, after decades of decline linked to poaching, habitat fragmentation, and climate change.

To boost the population of mountain bongos, a spacious sanctuary will be built in the Mount Kenya ecosystem to enable them to breed, thrive, and be introduced to other habitats in the country, according to conservationists.

Kenya's National Bongo Recovery and Action Plan covering 2019-2023 calls for innovative measures to restore their population, enhance ecosystem balance and boost tourism revenue. ■