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Bongo

Bongo at the LA Zoo Photo Credit Tad Motoyama

Scientific Name: Tragelaphus eurycerus isaaci

Bongos are fast runners and with their heads tilted up so that the horns lay along the back, are able to force their way through the forest rapidly.

Baby Bongos

Female bongos usually give birth to a single calf weighing about 40 lbs. The gestation period is about 9 ½ months, with calves born in December or January. The calves are precocial, able to stand and follow the mother shortly after birth. The normal life span of bongos is 20-25 years.

There are two populations of Bongo in Africa. One population is considered Near Threatened in West and Central Africa (often considered the lowland or Western bongo). The other population (often referred to as the Eastern or mountain bongo) is in Kenya and is critically endangered. Less than 100 individuals survive in four fragmented areas in the Aberdares Forest and on Mt. Kenya.

Bongos range throughout central Africa from the lowland forests of Sierra Leone to the bamboo forests of Kenya. During the dry season they live in forests at higher elevations, moving to lower areas during the wet season.

Bongos are browsers, eating the leaves and shoots of shrubs and trees. They have been seen eating the wood from burned trees, possibly to obtain salt. Bongos are ruminants with four-chambered stomachs, chewing their cud in the same way as cows.

Bongos are large antelopes standing four and a half at the shoulder and weighing up to 890 lbs. in males and 550 in females. Their horns can be more than three feet long, with the males being more flared than the females. Their coat is chestnut-red with 10-14 vertical white stripes. This coloration is effective camouflage for their forest habitat.

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