Bongo , Bongo
The bongo (Tragelaphus eurycerus ) is a herbivorous, mostly nocturnal forest ungulate. Bongos are characterised by a striking reddish-brown coat, black and white markings, white-yellow stripes and long slightly spiralled horns. They are the only tragelaphid in which both sexes have horns. They have a complex social interaction and are found in African dense forest mosaics. Native to Africa, they are the third-largest antelope in the world.Show More
The western or lowland bongo, T. e. eurycerus, faces an ongoing population decline, and the IUCN Antelope Specialist Group considers it to be Near Threatened on the conservation status scale.
The eastern or mountain bongo, T. e. isaaci, of Kenya, has a coat even more vibrant than that of T. e. eurycerus. The mountain bongo is only found in the wild in a few mountain regions of central Kenya. This bongo is classified by the IUCN Antelope Specialist Group as Critically Endangered, with fewer individuals in the wild than in captivity (where it breeds readily).
In 2000, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in the USA (AZA) upgraded the bongo to a Species Survival Plan participant and in 2006 added the Bongo Restoration to Mount Kenya Project to its list of the Top Ten Wildlife Conservation Success Stories of the year. However, in 2013, it seems, these successes have been compromised by reports of possibly only 100 mountain bongos left in the wild due to logging and poaching.Show Less
Nocturnality is an animal behavior characterized by being active during the night and sleeping during the day. The common adjective is "nocturnal",...
A herbivore is an animal anatomically and physiologically adapted to eating plant material, for example, foliage, for the main component of its die...
In zoology, a folivore is a herbivore that specializes in eating leaves. Mature leaves contain a high proportion of hard-to-digest cellulose, less ...
In zoology, a graminivore (not to be confused with a granivore) is an herbivorous animal that feeds primarily on grass. Graminivory is a form of g...
Terrestrial animals are animals that live predominantly or entirely on land (e.g., cats, ants, snails), as compared with aquatic animals, which liv...
Grazing is a method of feeding in which a herbivore feeds on plants such as grasses, or other multicellular organisms such as algae. In agriculture...
Browsing is a type of herbivory in which an herbivore (or, more narrowly defined, a folivore) feeds on leaves, soft shoots, or fruits of high-growi...
A cursorial organism is one that is adapted specifically to run. An animal can be considered cursorial if it has the ability to run fast (e.g. chee...
Polygyny is a mating system in which one male lives and mates with multiple females but each female only mates with a single male.
NoNot a migrant
Animals that do not make seasonal movements and stay in their native home ranges all year round are called not migrants or residents.
The bongo is a large forest-living antelope characterized by a striking reddish-brown coat with 10-15 vertical white stripes. They have a thin mane running along their back. The two sub-species are the Lowland bongo (the Western bongo) and the Mountain bongo (the Eastern bongo). A bongo has white marks on its cheeks, a white stripe between its eyes and nose, with a white crescent on its chest. Its legs have black white bands and its long tail ends in a tuft. It has large ears and its tongue is long and prehensile. The horns spiral into one or one-and-half twists, with males' horns being longer with more of a twist.
Bongos are mainly to be found in the lowland forests of Zaire and West Africa to southern Sudan. There are small populations in the highland forests of Kenya and also in the Congo. They prefer areas of forest with random clearings providing fresh, green vegetation at a low level. An ideal habitat for bongos in East Africa are mass bamboo die-offs.
The bongo is highly nocturnal and seldom seen by people, being shy and elusive. They disappear almost immediately into the forest when they feel threatened. Males live a solitary life and will only meet up with other bongos for mating purposes. Females often group together for protection in herds of up to 50 females and their young. Bongos can communicate by means of a variety of calls, including moos, grunts, snorts, and bleating as warning signals or as distress calls.
The bongo is herbivorous (folivorous, graminivorous), eating plant matter only. It eats leaves, roots, grasses, and bark, choosing to feed during the night in order to keep out of the way of its many predators. It has a prehensile tongue and uses it to reach the fresh leaves which are higher up and to pull out roots.
Mating is generally between October and January. After a gestation period of about 9 months, the female gives birth to a single calf. To protect the vulnerable calves from predators, they are born within dense vegetation, where, for about a week they lie silently, their mothers returning regularly to give them milk. When they are strong enough they join a group for better protection. Calves grow fast, their horns beginning to show after about three or four months. Weaning is at 6 months but calves generally stay with the herd for longer.
Destruction, of habitat, poaching, illegal trapping, and being a food source for humans in some areas contribute to the decrease in African bongo populations. Other major threats are diseases from domestic livestock and predators such as lions and leopards. Pythons and hyenas will kill young bongo calves.
Estimates of the bongo population are limited in availability. As of 1999, the population of Lowland bongo was suggested to be around 28,000 animals, with populations in the order of a few thousand in West Africa, and tens of thousands in the Central African forest zone. Only about 60% live in protected areas. The current population estimate for the Mountain bongo is only about 100 individuals. Lowland bongo is classified by the IUCN as Near Threatened (NT) while Mountain bongo is Critically Endangered (CR). Both subspecies experience decreasing population trend.
The browsing behavior of bongos is important in stopping the vegetation of forests from becoming overgrown.