The bongo antelope (Tragelaphus eurycerus) is a mammal that lives in the jungles that extend over a large part of Western and Central Africa. Both males and females have spiral-shaped antlers. However, what stands out the most about this animal are the fine white lines that run vertically along its body.

Scientific name:

Tragelaphus eurycerus


Tragelaphus eurycerus








Leaves, shoots, and roots


285 days

Number of puppies



Up to 18 - 20 years in captivity


460 - 990 pounds


8 feet long

Characteristics of the bongo

The bongo is one of the biggest antelopes in the world. Males usually weigh between 550 and 990 pounds whereas females weigh between 460 and 530 pounds. Their bodies are between 5.5 and 8 feet long.

These antelopes live alone or in small groups consisting of females and younger bongos that are occasionally accompanied by an adult male. In fact, in its youth, it is only together with females during the mating period.

The most notable aspect of about this species is the 12 to 14 white vertical stripes on its fur. The color of its fur goes from reddish-brown to orange in young bongos and is almost black in older bongos.

Habitat of the bongo

It is native to the dense, humid forests of Western and Central Africa, from Kenya to Sierra Leone. More specifically, it lives in lowland forests and bamboo thickets in groups of 6 to 8 individuals. It can also be found in the mountainous regions of Eastern Africa. It has been kept out of certain areas because of the presence of its main enemies: leopards and snakes.

Diet of the bongo

The bongo is an herbivore. Its diet is mainly based on leaves, vines, and shoots. Sometimes it also eats wood, bark, and even rotten fruit. To reach the trees, it stands up on its hind legs to break high branches or uses its horns to dig for roots. It mainly eats at night in order to stay safe from the carnivorous predators that share its habitat.

Behavior of the bongo

The bongo is distrustful by nature. When faced with a threat, it runs and hides, as it is a very timid, skittish animal. It is mostly active at night and for some of the day. It tends to live with a mate or form small groups that mainly include females and their young, although on occasion, groups of up to 35 bongos have been seen when the young are born.

It has excellent hearing, so it is difficult to observe it in nature, as it stays hidden in the thick jungle. 

Bongo antelope at risk of extinction

The bongo antelope is categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a “nearly threatened” animal due to the fact that its area of distribution is becoming smaller and smaller and it can access less food. What’s more, it suffers the consequences of indiscriminate hunting and deforestation. It is also threated by carnivorous predators such as lions.

Degree of threat


You can find me in this area inside the park.

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Dense forest and humid jungles.