The bontebok was rescued from the brink of extinction, when Bredaspdorp farmers started to breed with the species ultimately leading to the establishment of the Bontebok National Park (BNP) in the Bredasdorp area in 1931. This helped increase the numbers of bontebok, but due to the unsuitability of this habitat some bontebok were sent to Grahamstown to establish a new population on a farm called Thornkloof. Later, the BNP was established just outside Swellendam where it is currently situated. Bontebok from the original park were translocated to the new park along with a few from the Thornkloof farm. A few of the Thornkloof farm bontebok were sent to the De Hoop Nature Reserve and the then Cape Point Nature reserve (Table Mountain National Park).
Today the bontebok occurs in small isolated populations and is threatened by low genetic diversity, population fragmentation, habitat fragmentation and hybridization. Most of the vegetation types that constituted the bontebok’s original habitat are classified as Vulnerable, Endangered or Critically Endangered, resulting in 70% of the habitat being threatened. Only <10% of the original extent of renosterveld within the natural distribution range of the bontebok still remains. The bontebok is recognised as an iconic flagship species for the protection and conservation of the renosterveld vegetation. A species management plan has been compiled for the species stipulating actions to conserve both the bontebok as well as the critically endangered renosterveld vegetation type where they naturally occur.
Today the future of the bontebok looks a lot brighter due to the collaborative efforts made by CapeNature, the Department of Environmental Affairs, South African National Biodiversity Institute and South African National Parks to name a few.