The Mountain Bongo

The Mountain Bongo is a critically endangered subspecies of the Bongo, one of the largest forest antelopes, with a reddish-brown coat, with black, white and yellow-white markings. Both males and females have long, slightly spiraled horns. Bongos are rarely seen in large herds. Bulls are mostly solitary, while females with young form small herds of up to 10. They are mostly nocturnal.

The Mountain Bongo is one of the most elusive creatures on earth. Critically endangered, until very recently, it was thought to be extinct in the forests of Mount Kenya. The decline of the Mountain Bongo has been caused by habitat loss and illegal hunting with dogs. Increasing human population, deforestation, poaching, ecological changes, predation by lions, hyenas, and leopards threaten the survival of the mountain bongo. Disease (such as rinderpest) caught from grazing cattle is also thought to have been a significant factor in their historic decline.

Mountain Bongos are mostly grazers, feeding on leaves, vines, bark and occasionally grass. They need salt in their diet and regularly visit mineral licks. Mountain Bongos frequent the bamboo and mountain heath zone in the dry season and then descend to the cloud forest, where they disperse, during the rains. Herds of a dozen are considered large; they always include young calves and are trailed or accompanied by a bull during the mating season.

With fewer than 100 Bongos left in the wild, the Mountain Bongo has been classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as a critically-endangered species.

In spite of its threatened status, there is not enough focus on the plight of this magnificent antelope which is endemic to Kenya, as compared to other wildlife such as rhinos, elephants, or lions.