Bongo Antelope

Bongo

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  • Information
  • Conservation
  • Lifestyle

Description

Bongo are the largest and, with their rich, red coat, the most colorful of the African forest antelopes. Females and young are chestnut red while the males darken with age, eventually becoming a dark brown-black. Males and females alike have between 10 to 15 white vertical stripes on the body which help to camouflage with the vertical vegetation of the forest. Both sexes have long spiraling horns 30-40 in (75-100 cm) long with those of the female thinner and more parallel.

Classification

Class
Mammalia
Order
Cetartiodactyla
Family
Bovidae
Genus
Tragelaphus
Species
T. eurycerus
Conservation Status
Near Threatened

Key Facts

Height (at shoulder)
3.5-4.3 ft (~110-130 cm)
Weight
525-880 lb (~240-400 kg)

The IUCN Red List describes Tragelaphus eurycerus as Near Threatened. It is estimated that there are around 28,000 western bongo in the wild and the population is declining due to habitat loss and hunting. The eastern bongo population has declined to only 75 to 140 individuals due to habitat loss and hunting.

Social Life
Bongo are the only forest antelope to form herds which can range from 5-10 all the way up to 50 individuals. The males tend to be solitary, while females and their young comprise most of the herd. Bongo are very shy and disappear quickly into the forest.  When running they hold their horns against the back of their neck to avoid tangling them in the surrounding vegetation. They are most active between dusk and dawn. Because of their elusive behavior and habitat, bongo have been difficult to study and little is known about the activities of these reclusive creatures.

Habitat and Range
Bongo are found in dense tropical jungles with thick undergrowth in Central and West Africa. Two subspecies of bongo exist: the western lowland bongo, T. e. eurycerus, are found in the lowland forests of West Africa and Zaire to southern Sudan; and the eastern mountain bongo, T. e. isaaci which are isolated in Kenya and the Congo.

Diet
Bongo are browsers and grazers eating leaves, flowers, twigs, shrubs, vines, thistles, and grasses. They use their long tongue to reach leaves and their horns to pull down high branches and vines. They are known to visit natural salt licks regularly.

Lifespan
Bongo may live up to 10 years in the wild and 22 years in captivity.

Predators
The primary predator of the bongo is the leopard.

Reproduction
Sexual maturity: Male: 3 years, Female: 2.5 years
Mating Season:   Unknown in the wild, opportunistic in captivity
Birth Season:      Unknown
Gestation:            9 months
No. of Young:      1

Information

Description

Bongo are the largest and, with their rich, red coat, the most colorful of the African forest antelopes. Females and young are chestnut red while the males darken with age, eventually becoming a dark brown-black. Males and females alike have between 10 to 15 white vertical stripes on the body which help to camouflage with the vertical vegetation of the forest. Both sexes have long spiraling horns 30-40 in (75-100 cm) long with those of the female thinner and more parallel.

Classification

Class
Mammalia
Order
Cetartiodactyla
Family
Bovidae
Genus
Tragelaphus
Species
T. eurycerus
Conservation Status
Near Threatened

Key Facts

Height (at shoulder)
3.5-4.3 ft (~110-130 cm)
Weight
525-880 lb (~240-400 kg)
Conservation

The IUCN Red List describes Tragelaphus eurycerus as Near Threatened. It is estimated that there are around 28,000 western bongo in the wild and the population is declining due to habitat loss and hunting. The eastern bongo population has declined to only 75 to 140 individuals due to habitat loss and hunting.

Lifestyle

Social Life
Bongo are the only forest antelope to form herds which can range from 5-10 all the way up to 50 individuals. The males tend to be solitary, while females and their young comprise most of the herd. Bongo are very shy and disappear quickly into the forest.  When running they hold their horns against the back of their neck to avoid tangling them in the surrounding vegetation. They are most active between dusk and dawn. Because of their elusive behavior and habitat, bongo have been difficult to study and little is known about the activities of these reclusive creatures.

Habitat and Range
Bongo are found in dense tropical jungles with thick undergrowth in Central and West Africa. Two subspecies of bongo exist: the western lowland bongo, T. e. eurycerus, are found in the lowland forests of West Africa and Zaire to southern Sudan; and the eastern mountain bongo, T. e. isaaci which are isolated in Kenya and the Congo.

Diet
Bongo are browsers and grazers eating leaves, flowers, twigs, shrubs, vines, thistles, and grasses. They use their long tongue to reach leaves and their horns to pull down high branches and vines. They are known to visit natural salt licks regularly.

Lifespan
Bongo may live up to 10 years in the wild and 22 years in captivity.

Predators
The primary predator of the bongo is the leopard.

Reproduction
Sexual maturity: Male: 3 years, Female: 2.5 years
Mating Season:   Unknown in the wild, opportunistic in captivity
Birth Season:      Unknown
Gestation:            9 months
No. of Young:      1

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Bongo