Secret life of rare antelope revealed

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Chester Zoo

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The lowland bongo (Tragelaphus eurycerus eurycerus) was noticed on digital camera traps

The world’s largest forest antelope has been caught on digital camera in Uganda for the primary time.

The elusive striped antelope, referred to as the lowland bongo, was snapped in dense forest close to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Scientists say there could possibly be extra new discoveries within the distant, unexplored, lowland rainforest.

The forest-dwelling antelope is classed as Close to Threatened on the extinction record, as a result of habitat loss and searching.

Populations in central and western Africa have declined to about 30,000 people.

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Chester Zoo

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Chimpanzees had been seen within the forest

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Chester Zoo

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One other forest antelope, the bushbuck, was additionally photographed

How was the antelope found?

The bongo was noticed utilizing motion-sensor cameras in Semuliki Nationwide Park, house to one in all Africa’s most historical forests, which harbours lots of of various birds and mammals.

It was recognized throughout a survey of mammals throughout the park. Greater than 30 mammal species had been noticed amongst 18,000 footage, together with elephants, chimps, buffalos and leopards.

“We had been amazed that such a big, putting animal might go undetected for thus lengthy, however bongo are a notoriously shy and elusive species,” mentioned Stuart Nixon of Chester Zoo’s Africa Subject Programme, which carried out the research alongside the Uganda Wildlife Authority.

“It could possibly be that bongo and different species are transferring between Virunga Nationwide Park in DRC and Uganda, exhibiting simply how essential it’s to guard the rainforests, which nonetheless join the 2 international locations.”

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Getty Pictures

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The bongo has a red-chestnut coat and huge horns

Info in regards to the lowland bongo

  • World’s largest forest antelope
  • Feeds on leaves, bushes, vines, bark, grasses, roots, cereals, shrubs and fruit
  • Bongos are timid and simply frightened, primarily dwelling alone
  • Grownup males will often meet and battle with their horns

Supply: African Wildlife Basis

How will the invention assist in conservation?

The researchers assume there could also be different uncommon animal species within the forest, that are but to be found.

“There are only a few locations on the map which are true wildernesses,” mentioned Scott Wilson, head of area programmes at Chester Zoo. “It is good to know there are nonetheless locations to be explored and species to be discovered.”

There are not any lowland bongos saved in zoos, so efforts should give attention to defending the animal within the wild.

The species is uncommon all through the forests of western and central Africa, with populations declining as a result of habitat destruction and looking for meat, primarily by means of utilizing snares.

“As thrilled as we’re with this discovery, rather more work is required to study extra about this newly discovered species in Uganda and elsewhere throughout its vary,” mentioned Stuart Nixon.

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