Eastern/Mountain Bongo

Eastern/Mountain Bongo   Tragelaphus isaaci

Type of Animal:

Forests, forest-savanna mosaic, swamps, bamboo thickets, forest edge, forest clearings, savanna

Fragmented areas of C. Kenya

Bulls have dark, almost mahogany-brown coat, females light-brown coat. Both sexes have distinctive, vertical white stripes. Spiral shaped horns present on both sexes, thicker on bull than on female. One of larger antelope species.

Leaves, flowers, twigs, thistles, bark, vines, pith, bushes, grasses, herbs, cereals, shrubs, fruit, shoots. Sometimes burned wood after lightning storms.

Status in Wild:
Critically Endangered

Breeding in zoos and wildlife parks. Reintroduction into parts of Kenya.

Cows & calves live in herds of 5-20 animals, w/ or w/o a bull. Some younger bulls live in small bachelor herds while many bulls solitary.

Additional Info:


Male-530-893 lbs
Female-463-518 lbs
Young-46-50 lbs

9.5 months

3.8-4.3 ft

Body Length:
5.6-8.3 ft

Life Span:
Up to 20 years

Tail Length:
1.5-2 ft

Main predators are leopards, hyenas, & lions. Pythons & chimps prey on calves.

AZA (American Zoo & Aquarium Association) participated in Bongo Repatriation Project to Mount Kenya, resulting in reintroduction into Kenya.

Critically endangered due to hunting for horns/pelts/meat, diseases such as rinderpest, habitat loss, & logging. More of these animals live in captivity than in the wild.

Unlike many hoofstock, actual fights between males are fairly rare. Most fighting is just sparring.

International Bongo Foundation (IBF) formed in 2006 to promote bongo conservation in Kenya.

They communicate w/ moos, grunts, snorts, & bleating.

Primarily active at night (nocturnal) or dawn & dusk (crepuscular).

They rely on hearing more than sight.

Calves weaned at 6 months but stay w/ herd for longer.

They like to mud wallow & rub mud against trees to polish horns.

Fun Fact(s):
They can run up to 43 mph.

Have prehensile tongue helping it to reach hard to reach leaves & helping it when pulling roots out of ground.

In many African tribal cultures, it was believed that if person touched or ate a bongo they would get leprosy. Many tribal cultures that used to believe this taboo abandoned it, which has led to increased hunting for bongo meat, horns, & pelts.

While mostly shy & secretive, they can be dangerous when cornered or if female protecting calf.

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