Bongo

Bongos are forest antelopes. They have shorter legs than other antelopes, which is a typical body form of forest herbivores. (Long legs are used for running quickly and this is not possible in dense jungle, whereas shorter legs make the bongos more sure-footed.) Bongos also have distinctive white markings on the legs and above the eyes. These may act as visual signals so that the antelopes can see each other among the dense foliage.

Most bongos live in lowland rainforest, although small populations also live in the highland regions in northern Congo and Kenya. Bongos are both grazers and browsers. They will eat a range of plant foods including leaves, flowers, twigs, thistles and grasses. They have long, flexible tongues, which they use to pluck the freshest leaves. The horns are also used to pull on or break high branches.

Along with the elands, the bongos are the only spiral-horned antelopes to have horns on both sexes. The horns of females are straighter than those of the males. Females and young are red but adult males are darker.

Most large forest animals live alone (the lack of space makes it hard for herds to stay together), but bongos do form small herds of around six individuals, containing an equal mix of the sexes.

Distribution: West Africa, the Congo, northern Kenya and southern Sudan.

Habitat: Lowland tropical rainforests.

Food: Browses on leaves, fruits and flowers.

Size: 1.7 - 2.5 m (5.5 - 8.25 ft); 150 - 220 kg (331 - 485 lb).

Maturity: Between 1 and 3 years.

Breeding: Single calves born all year round. Twins are seen but only rarely. The gestation period is about 9 months.

Life span: 20 years.

Status: Lower risk, although at increasing risk of poaching.

Gallery of Bongo