Sunday, May 2, 2010


Does anyone remember a game called Sim Safari? Circa 1998? I sure do! That game taught me all about the wide wide world of African antelopes. And ever since I picked up that game so many years ago, the Bongo has been one of my all time favorites.

Why the Bongo? Well, I'd be lying if I didn't mention their striking looks. That reddish brown coat! Those stripes! Those fabulous twisted horns! Their absolutely adorable calves! Plus, an anonymous source thinks they look like Cinnabons.
But they are also the largest of all mountain antelopes, and one of the largest antelope species overall, with males capable of reaching 900lbs despite being only about 4 feet tall. They are also fairly unique in that both that males and females of the species sport those snazzy horns. And speaking of those horns, when Bongo's run (they are actually pretty darn fast) they flatten their head and horns back, which can cause bald patches on their backs from all the rubbing. The distinctive run is even seen in the young ones, as this video clearly shows.

There are actually two different subspecies of Bongo, the western/lowland Tragelaphus eurycerus eurycerus, and the eastern/mountain, Tragelaphus eurycerus isaaci. They are pretty similar to one another, the major differences being the location of the habitat and the coat vibrancy. (mountain Bongo's win that prize) They are very solitary creatures overall, males live alone while females might be found in small bands of less than ten.

The western/mountain fellows are actually really endangered, with only about 100 estimated in the wild. But organizations like the Saint Louis Zoo are working to get them reintroduced. Recently they, and 12 other zoos worldwide, released some captive born specimens in hope to bring the wild numbers back up.

And rolling back to the topic of animal simulation games... Zoo Tycoon 2 rocks faces. (Bongos are in it too)
picture from National Geographic

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