In the early 2000’s, &Beyond, in partnership with local government agencies and the Wildlife Conservation Society, initiated the first in a series of translocations of Aders’ and suni duikers to Mnemba Island in order to establish viable breeding populations safe from the threats the species face in mainland areas.
Aders’ duiker is the rarest antelope in Africa, with estimates of between 300-600 remaining in the wild. In 2005, five were introduced to Mnemba which was regarded as an ideal location given it has no natural predators and a good supply of food. Notoriously secretive, Mnemba is one of very few places in the world where these little animals can be spotted in the wild. Over the years, targeted studies have collected information on the duikers’ diet and behaviour, and the species has increased in number to over 30.
The tiny suni antelope were originally brought to Mnemba from Jozani Forest on Zanzibar. So successful has the breeding program been for these rare little animals, that they have been breeding twice, rather than once every year. With numbers increasing so rapidly, periodical relocations of the species have ensured that there is enough space and food for both the suni and Aders’ duiker. Over the years, more than 250 suni have been successfully moved to 13 sites throughout Zanzibar.
Both the Ader and suni antelope, along with the island vegetation that they are dependent on, continue to be carefully monitored on Mnemba Island to ensure gene pools remain strong, that the carrying capacity of the island is not exceeded, and that there are no adverse impacts of the antelope’s own breeding success on the island’s vegetation and ecological balance.