Where do bongos live?
Bongos are only found in rain forests with dense undergrowth across tropical Africa. Specifically, they are found in the Lowland Rain Forest of West Africa and the Congo Basin to the Central African Republic and Southern Sudan.
Tags: Benin, Kenya, Niger, West/Central Africa, Congo, Cameroon
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What is a bongo?
The bongo is the largest and heaviest forest antelope. It has an auburn or chestnut coat with 10 to 15 vertical white stripes running down its sides. Females are usually more brightly colored than males. Both males and females have spiraled, lyre-shaped horns. The large ears are believed to sharpen hearing, and the distinctive coloration may help bongos identify one another in their dark forest habitats. Bongos have no special secretion glands, so they rely less on scent to find one another than do other similar antelopes.
Bongos have a craving for salt.
Like other antelopes, bongos are herbivorous browsers that feed on leaves, bushes, vines, bark, grasses, roots, cereals, shrubs, and fruits. They also require salt in their diet and will visit natural salt licks.
They scare easily.
Bongos are timid and easily frightened. They will run away after a scare—at considerable speed—and seek cover, where they stand still and alert with their backs to the disturbance. The bongo’s hindquarters are less conspicuous than the forequarters, and from this position, the animal can quickly flee.
Bongos are mostly solitary.
Adult males of a similar size or age seem to try to avoid one another, but occasionally, they will meet and spar with their horns in a ritualized manner. Sometimes, serious fights will take place, but they are usually discouraged by visual displays, in which the males bulge their necks, roll their eyes, and hold their horns in a vertical position while slowly pacing back and forth in front of the other male. Younger mature males most often remain solitary, although they sometimes join up with an older male. They seek out females only at mating time. When they are with a herd of females, males do not coerce them or try to restrict their movements, as do some other antelopes.
Females bear calves in specific areas.
Female bongos use traditional calving grounds restricted to certain areas. The newborn calf lies out in hiding for a week or more, receiving short visits by the mother to suckle it. Calves grow rapidly and are quickly able to accompany their mothers in the nursery herds.