The population of rare African antelopes that were bred in captivity and re-introduced to their native habitat three years ago has increased, Kenyan officials said.
A first group of 18 captive-born mountain bongos (tragelaphus eurycerus) was flown from zoos in the United States to the Mount Kenya area in January 2004 to start a new breeding group whose offspring will eventually be returned to the wild.
"Since then, 11 baby bongos have been born to that herd in the safety of the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy," said a Kenya Wildlife Service official.
"We will continue with the breeding programme and monitor it to ensure they are fully introduced to the wild," Patrick Omondi, KWS head of species management, told AFP.
The elusive bongos were captured from forests around Mount Kenya between 1966 and 1975 and taken to the United States for breeding purposes as it became clear they were facing extinction due to poaching and disease.
Only a few dozen wild mountain bongo remain on the entire central Kenyan highlands, having disappeared completely from the slopes of Mount Kenya in 1994. There are an estimated 400 individuals in North American zoos.
Last Mod: 11 Eylül 2007, 12:59