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Scientific Name: 
Tragelaphus eurycerus ssp. isaaci
Species class: 
Near Threatened
Quick Facts

Life Span: 20 years

Size: 1.7m-2.5m long; 110-253 at shoulder height

Weight: 210-405kgs with males heavier than females

Collective Noun: Herd

Fun Facts

The Bongo is the largest of the forest antelopes

Horns: Both males and females grow long curved horns. The males horns are longer and wider than the females, growing up to 1m long! These horns begin to grow on calves from four months of age.

When threatened bongos will run through the dense undergrowth when threatened, with their heads back and horns low and flat against their back.

Superstitions: The Zande people of Sudan believed that if you touched or ate a Bongo you would get leprosy, as the oils in the Bongos coat stain skin orange. This protected the Bongo. Unfortunately, European settlers did not share this view and freely hunted the Bongo, severely reducing numbers.

Camouflage: The Eastern Bongo’s striking, striped, chestnut-red coat actually helps it camouflage itself among the thick, shady forest habitat it dwells in.

Feeding: The Eastern Bongo uses its tongue as a feeding tool to help grip, pick up and rip apart food. They will also use their horns to break high branches in order to attain more food.

Bongos rely heavily on their sense of hearing, as evidenced by their large directional ears.

Photo by Rick Stevens.

The Eastern or Mountain Bongo (as opposed to the other subspecies of the Lowland or Western Bongo) is a species of antelope, where in the wild, is only found in one remote region of central Kenya. 

At Taronga:

We have 4 Eastern Bongos at Taronga Zoo. We have two males, Ekundu and Tambo, and two females; Djembe and Kiazi. 

Taronga’s breeding program welcomed its first calf in April 2012. The little female is named ‘Kiazi’, Swahili for ‘sweet potato’, which is suggestive of her colour tones. Kiazi seems to only have two speeds—baby steps and wind sprints. The arrival of a healthy female calf is of very great significance for this most endangered subspecies. First time mother ‘Djembi’, aged 3, is an excellent parent. The male ‘Ekundu’ is housed separately. 

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