Lesson 19.4: Social Studies Connection

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Bongos Return Home

A Long Way Home

The flight from Jacksonville, Florida airport to Nairobi, Kenya took 30 hours. When the plane landed, eight shipping crates weighing 1,000 pounds each were lifted off.

Trucks carried the crates on the four-hour drive to the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy. There the crates were hauled off the trucks. Then, all at once, the doors of the crates were pulled open and 18 creatures leapt out. The bongo had returned to their ancestors' home in Africa!

An Animal Loved for Its Beauty

With its reddish-brown coat, white stripes, and long horns the bongo is said to be one of the most beautiful antelopes in the world. Great numbers of bongo once lived in the hills of Kenya. Then, about 50 years ago, there began to be fewer and fewer of them. Lions and humans alike had hunted most of the bongo population until almost no bongos were left. Something had to be done, or the bongo would become extinct.

Hunters Saved the Day

During the 1960s two Americans, Don Hunt and William Holden, came to Kenya to hunt wildlife. But when they realized that the numbers of animals in the wild were dwindling, the Americans changed their minds. Together the men decided that, instead of hunting animals, they would plan a way to conserve them.

Hunt and Holden brought their plan to the Kenyan government. The government agreed that they could capture 20 bongos and find homes for them in American zoos. The zoos promised to raise these bongos so that one day their descendants could be returned to Africa.

Home At Last

The bongos were well cared for in America, and many more bongos were born there. About 35 years after the bongos had come to America, their numbers reached about 400. At last their descendants had come back home to Africa to be reintroduced to their native land.

Word Wise

Carry a heavy load: Every day Ryan hauls his bulging knapsack to school and back.

A person in one's family who lived long ago, such as a great-grandmother: My dad's ancestors lived in Ethiopia, and my mom's lived in Italy.

A type of African or Asian animal with horns: Antelope are known as swift runners.

The number of living things in a group: A huge population of carpenter ants is living in our woodpile.

Getting smaller and smaller in number or amount: The number of cookies in the cookie jar seems to be dwindling.

Protect from loss or damage, preserve: Keeping the air and water free of pollution helps to conserve wildlife.

A living thing that has come from a particular ancestor: I am a descendant of my English and Italian ancestors.

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Conserve is the root word for these words:

  • conservation
  • conservationist

You have read about the work of two conservationists, Don Hunt and William Holden. Now find out about the work of another wildlife conservationist, Jane Goodall.

Use an encyclopedia, other books, or the Internet to find facts about Jane Goodall. Write two paragraphs about Goodall's work. Use as many of these vocabulary words in your paragraphs as you can:

  • ancestor
  • population
  • dwindling
  • conserve
  • descendant

Data Hunt

The animal orphanage at the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy cares for many different kinds of animals. Young animals with no mothers cannot live on their own. The animal orphanage raises such animals until they are ready to care for themselves and be released into the wild.

Suppose these animals are at the animal orphanage this month.

Type of Animal Number of Each
baboon 2
colobus monkey 4
elephant 1
hyena 3
giraffe 1
warthog 5
buffalo 2

Use the information in the table to answer the following questions.

  1. How many animals are at the animal orphanage this month?
  2. What fraction of the animals are hyenas?
  3. What fraction of the animals are colobus monkeys?
  4. Which kinds of animals each make up one-ninth of the animals in the orphanage?
  5. If the elephant and the warthogs are returned to the wild at the end of the month, what fraction of the animals now at the orphanage will be left?

Write your own math question about the animal orphanage at the Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy. Be sure to include at least one fraction in your problem. If you have time, you may share your math question with a classmate.