If you’re looking for your next baby animal obsession, look no further! Prepare to fall in love with Tanganyika Wildlife Park’s newest addition; a baby bongo born to resident Eastern Mountain Bongos Strudel (mom) and Malachai (dad). Those big, fuzzy ears and that adorable nose will have any heart melting.
We are honored to share this exciting news, and this baby bongo is more than just another cute baby (one of three baby animals born within 30 days at the park)! The Eastern Mountain Bongo is a critically endangered forest antelope species. This is one of the most endangered species to call Tanganyika Wildlife Park home. This blog will go over the importance of the exciting birth of this beautiful baby bongo and how this is an enormous milestone for the species as a whole.
Why Zoos Are Good for the Bongo Animal
Education and conservation are the mission of most zoos. This comes from a dedication to preserving and sharing a passion for all animals.
As such, zoos and other wildlife institutions are driven to educate and connect people to the beautiful animals in our world. Visiting wildlife parks and zoos will provide people with a fantastic opportunity; they will get to see and learn about many animals, including some of the most rare and endangered species.
This can lead visitors to make decisions that contribute to the sustainability of the environment and the well-being of living things. Overall, zoos impact society’s view of the natural world by forming positive associations with the animals they meet.
Visiting a zoo may also lead children to develop a passion for pursuing animal care fields in the future, and repeat visitors tend to make greater conservation efforts in their own life and retain the knowledge of animal biodiversity or conservation. People can also provide immense support for those institutions through their visits and continuing to spread awareness of a zoo’s mission.
One of the largest components of these facilities is conservation, often through breeding programs suited to the animals’ needs to produce healthy babies and boost declining populations.
These efforts can further aid the population through the reintroduction of endangered species and maintaining populations in human care. This ensures that even if these animals’ habitats continue to decline or struggle to recover from destruction and human encroachment, those animals are not lost with it.
One such species saved from extinction through zoo efforts is the bongo animal, specifically the Eastern Mountain Bongo. This critically endangered species of antelope is noted to have less than 100 individuals left in the wild!
This drastically low number brings the bongo animal close to extinction. Only through the breeding programs of several North American zoos, partnered with work by the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy in Africa, has the bongo gained a new chance at survival.
In 2004, 18 bongos were picked from separate breeding programs of several North American zoos. These bongos were chosen based on genetics and the best chances for conservation. Then, they were sent to Kenya to join a “rewilding” program through the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy.
Twenty years of breeding the repatriated bongos and introducing them to their ancestral home resulted in the most significant step for conservation efforts. On March 9th, 2022, the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy released five bongos born to those original breeding adults into the Mountain Bongo Sanctuary!
This success story doesn’t end there. The conservancy has announced it will reintroduce ten additional bongos every year. This means that by 2025, 50-70 bongos will be rewilded into their protected habitat.
Repatriation is a significant effort to reintroduce a species back to its native habitat. This is often a daunting task taken to enlarge a population, particularly that of endangered species. It takes significant time, resources, and planning, and success can be difficult to achieve based on monitoring the animals, maintenance of habitat, and the traits, which all may impact the survival and growth of the population.
Want to make a difference yourself? Create a connection and support rare and endangered species at Tanganyika Wildlife Park.
The Benefits of the Birth of Endangered Animals in Zoos
The birth of endangered animals in zoos greatly boosts conservation efforts and ensures various species’ survival. In fact, the bongo animal is only one of several success stories of endangered animals in zoos. Others include the Arabian Oryx, Prewalski’s Horse, and Panamanian Golden Frog, to name just a few. These successes are attributed to the shared message of conservation and education across many zoos.
Specifically, zoos can:
- Provide protection against extinction through breeding programs to boost population numbers
- Maintaining healthy genetics for those populations
- Educating the public and connecting people to animals
- Studying those animals in human care to better understand how to help them and their wild counterparts.
As we have our eyes on the newest addition to Tanganyika Wildlife Park, it is apparent that the birth of a baby bongo presents us with hope for the future of endangered species. A newborn animal boosts population numbers as a whole, and being born to first-time parents, this bongo calf provides new genetics to the species.
The Eastern Mountain Bongo and other animals will continue to rise from a critically endangered status as long as zoos offer effective care and effort to conserve endangered species.
Come Meet Our Baby Bongo and Other Endangered Species
The baby bongo at Tanganyika Wildlife Park will continue living with his mother and later be introduced to the herd after a few months. Eventually, once he is old enough, he will be paired with a herd at another facility to join a breeding program and have his own offspring.
Tanganyika’s bongos reside behind the scenes at the original barn on the property (lovingly called Old Barn). This provides a calm setting for the young breeding herd of one male and five females, encouraging natural behaviors, including breeding. Though they are in a separate area from the rest of the park, is it still possible for people to get a look at our herd and, of course, the baby bongo.
Tanganyika offers an “Origins Tour,” which allows visitors to tour the original barn, learn about the facility’s origins, and encounter some of the amazing, endangered animals at the park. These include the Eastern Mountain Bongos, Grévy’s Zebras, African Lions, and Amur Leopards!
In addition to conservation breeding programs, Tanganyika supports several conservation partners. By visiting the park or joining in on these experiences, people aid the park in conservation and educational efforts!
This blog written by Bongo keeper Amanda, who spends her days scratching bongo necks, hauling hay, and filling barrels full of hoofstock poop. Thanks Amanda for carving out some time to share your Bongo expertise with us.