About the Species

The mountain bongo is a critically endangered species and is only found in Kenya. From our own research at BSP, we have determined mountain bongo population to be severely fragmented, with distribution in 2015 to be found in five (5) separate sub-populations including: Aberdare Mountains (<50); Mt Kenya (10-15); Eburu Forest (ca 10); Maasai Mau Forest Complex (20+; new Bongo groups discovered May 2013); and SW Mau Forest (<10).

The bongo, Tragelaphus eurycerus isaaci , is the largest and heaviest African forest dwelling antelope weighing upto 300kg. Its colour is bright chestnut red, becoming darker with age and it has 12-14 transverse narrow white stripes on the shoulders, flanks and hind quarters. Both sexes have massive spiral horns with lightyellowish tips . As young males mature they leave the maternal groups and join other smaller male groups, whilst the older males often remain solitary. The females remain in small groups. Bongos are shy, illusive animals. They are mostly browsers and are therefore restricted to areas with abundant year round growth of leaves and shoots of shrubs .They are fond of rotting wood and will range widely in their quest for appropriate vegetation.

This population is severely fragmented into five isolated sub populations in Aberdare National Park, Mau Eburu National Forest Reserve, Maasai Mau Forest and Mount Kenya Forest Reserve.

Distribution Map


Common Name

Mountain Bongo

Scientific Name

Tragelaphus eurycerus isaaci

Size

Up to 1-3metres standing

Weight :

Males:250-450 kgs Female:200-250

Colour :

Bright chestnut- Females Dark chestnut-Males

Life Span:

Up to 14 years recorded in captivity

Habitat:

Habitat Dense forest

Gestation

9 months

Status:

Critically endangered

Diet :

Leaves, shoots, creepers,shrubs, Horns both males and females

Threats :

The decline of the mountain bongo has been caused by illegal hunting, logging, disease and loss of habitat.

A National Bongo Task Force (NBTF) has been established, of which BSP is a member.NBTF is responsible for the generation of a comprehensive Bongo action plan, entitled "National Recovery And Action Plan For The Mountain Bongo"(Tragelaphus eurycerus isaaci ) In Kenya(2019-2023)"

Although the wild population is critically endangered, the sub-species is the subject of ex-situ conservation efforts. In other words, there are healthy mountain bongo populations in captivity in zoos and breeding facilities in Kenya, U.S.A. and Europe. Though a formal action recovery plan is not confirmed, there are high hopes of mountain bongo recovery through conservation translocations.