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Eastern bongo

Tragelaphus eurycerus isaaci

Eastern bongo

Eastern bongos are African forest antelopes.

Their red, stripy coats act as excellent camouflage from predators when hiding amongst the forest trees. Unlike most antelopes, both male and female bongos have long spiralling horns. The shape of the bongos’ horns matches the contour of their backs. The antelope can tilt the horns back and can run through the dense forest with no obstructions.

Eastern bongos are critically endangered and it is estimated that there are as few as 200 left in the wild.

Belfast Zoo’s herd of Eastern bongo live in the avenue animal walk. We have had great success at breeding this species and many of Belfast Zoo’s bongo offspring have moved to zoos around the world, as part of the collaborative breeding programme.

Habitat
Forest and mountainous 

Diet - Herbivore
Bongos eat leaves, flowers and twigs but will also eat grasses and herbs.

Size
The Eastern bongo measures up to 250 centimetres (cm) in length and 130cm at the shoulder. They can weigh up to 405 kilograms.

Location
Eastern bongos are found in the mountain forests of central Kenya.

Conservation status
The IUCN believes that the Eastern Bongo is at a high risk of extinction in the wild. They are listed under Appendix III of CITES.

Threats
The main threat facing the Eastern bongo is the destruction of their forest habitats. They are also hunted for their meat and fur.

Current population
There is a Bongo Surveillance Programme in place. This is a reintroduction project designed to boost the native population of bongo in Africa. However, current estimates show that there could be as few as 140 Eastern Bongos left in the wild and these numbers are spread over four isolated populations.

Zoo population
There is an EEP for Eastern bongos. There are around 420 eastern bongos living in zoos across the world.

Key to acronyms

IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature

CITES - Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species

EEP - European Endangered Species Programme

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