The Western or Lowland Bongo, (Tragelaphus Eurycerus), is a herbivorous antelope. It is the largest of all forest antelopes. Both sexes are similar in size and both have white markings on their brown coats to help camouflage themselves. Both sexes have spiral horns, very heavy in weight, although the males’ horns are longer.

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The Bongo (Tragelaphus Eurycerus) is a large, mostly nocturnal, forest-dwelling antelope, native to sub Saharan Africa. Bongos are characterised by a striking reddish-brown coat, black and white markings, white-yellow stripes, and long slightly spiralled horns. It is the only Tragelaphid in which both sexes have horns. Bongos have a complex social interaction and are found in African dense forest mosaics. They are the third-largest antelope in the world.

The Western and Lowland Bongo faces an ongoing population decline, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Antelope Specialist Group considers it to be near threatened.

The Eastern or Mountain Bongo, has a coat even more vibrant than that of the Eurycerus. The mountain Bongo is only found in the wild in a few mountain regions of central Kenya. This Bongo is classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Antelope Specialist Group as critically endangered with fewer individuals in the wild than in captivity.

In addition to the deep chestnut colour of their coats, they have bright white stripes on their sides to help with camouflage. Adults of both sexes are similar in size. Adult height is about 1.1 to 1.3 m (3.6 to 4.3 ft) at the shoulder and length is 2.15 to 3.15 m (7.1 to 10.3 ft), including a tail of 45–65 cm (18–26 in). Females weigh around 150–276 kg (331–608 lb), while males weigh about 220–405 kg (485–893 lb). Its large size puts it as the third-largest in the Bovidae tribe of Strepsicerotini, behind both the Common and Greater Eland by about 300 kg (660 lb) and above the Greater Kudu by about 40 kg (88 lb).

The Bongo sports a bright auburn or chestnut coat, with the neck, chest, and legs generally darker than the rest of the body, especially in males. Coats of male Bongos become darker as they age until they reach a dark mahogany-brown colour. Coats of female Bongos are usually more brightly coloured than those of males. The eastern Bongo is darker in colour than the western and this is especially pronounced in older males which tend to be chestnut brown, especially on the forepart of their bodies.

The smooth coat is marked with 10–15 vertical white-yellow stripes, spread along the back from the base of the neck to the rump. The number of stripes on each side is rarely the same. It also has a short, bristly, brown ridge of dorsal hair from the shoulder to the rump; the white stripes run into this ridge.

A white chevron appears between the eyes, with two large white spots on each cheek. Another white chevron occurs where the neck meets the chest. Bongos have no special secretion glands, so rely likely less on scent to find one another than do other similar antelopes. The lips of a Bongo are white, topped with a black muzzle.

Bongos have two heavy and slightly spiralled horns that slope over their backs. Bongo males have larger backswept horns, while females have smaller, thinner, and more parallel horns. The size of the horns range between 75 and 99 cm (29.5 and 39 in). The horns of Bongos are spiralled, and share this trait with those of the related antelope species of Nyala, Sitatunga, Bushbuck, Kudu and Eland The horns of Bongos twist once. Unlike Deer, which have branched antlers that shed annually, Bongos and other antelopes have unbranched horns they keep throughout their lives.

Like all other horns of antelopes, the core of a Bongo’s horn is hollow and the outer layer of the horn is made of keratin, the same material that makes up human fingernails, toenails, and hair. The Bongo runs gracefully and at full speed through even the thickest tangles of lianas, laying its heavy spiralled horns on its back so the brush cannot impede its flight.

Like many forest ungulates, Bongos are herbivorous browsers and feed on leaves, bushes, vines, bark and  pith of rotting trees, grasses/herbs, roots, cereals and fruits.

Bongos require salt in their diets, and are known to regularly visit natural salt licks. Bongos are also known to eat burnt wood after a storm, as a rich source of salt and minerals. This behaviour is believed to be a means of getting salts and minerals into their diets.

Bongos are seldom seen in large groups. Males, called bulls, tend to be solitary, while females with young live in groups of six to eight. Bongos have seldom been seen in herds of more than 20. Gestation is about 285 days (9.5 months), with one young per birth, the calves grow rapidly and can soon accompany their mothers in the nursery herds. Their horns grow rapidly and begin to show in 3.5 months. They are weaned after six months and sexual maturity is reached at 24–27 months. As young males mature and leave their maternal groups, they most often remain solitary, although rarely they join an older male. Adult males of similar size/age tend to avoid one another. Occasionally, they meet and spar with their horns in a ritualised manner and it is rare for serious fights to take place. However, such fights 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. They seek out females only during 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.

Bongos are both timid and easily frightened; after a scare, a Bongo moves away at considerable speed, even through dense undergrowth. Once they find cover, they stay alert and face away from the disturbance, but peek every now and then to check the situation. The Bongo’s hindquarters are less conspicuous than the forequarters, and from this position the animal can quickly flee.

When in distress, the Bongo emits a bleat. It uses a limited number of vocalisations, mostly grunts and snorts; females have a weak mooing contact-call for their young.


Bongos are found in tropical jungles with dense undergrowth up to an altitude of 4,000 m (13,000 ft) in Central Africa, with isolated populations in Kenya and these West African countries: Cameroon, the Central African Republic, The Republic of Congo, the Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and South Sudan.

Bongos favour disturbed forest mosaics that provide fresh, low-level green vegetation. Such habitats may be promoted by heavy browsing by Elephants, fires, flooding, tree-felling (natural or by logging), and fallowing. Mass bamboo die-off provides ideal habitat in East Africa. They can live in bamboo forests.


What is Bongo Taxidermy?

Planning carefully is the key to a good Bongo taxidermy job. When tanning and oiling the hides, the best chemicals and methods in the world are used to make sure they will last for generations. At Lifeform Taxidermy, we carefully choose our forms to make sure they fit well, and we’ll even custom make the forms according to any instruction, you may have in mind, at no extra cost. Full-mount trophies come with standard natural habitat bases that are made just for them. We use only the best materials and our 40 years of experience in the field to give your trophies new meaning. The finished trophies look life-like. When repair is needed, every effort is made to repair cuts and scrapes while keeping bullet damage to a minimum. Skin preparation and storage tips for a flawless Bongo trophy.

Take care of your trophy before you bring it to the taxidermist – field preparation is the most important start. As soon as you take the hit on your trophy, it starts to rot, and the heat of Africa speeds up the decaying process. The hunter must not drag the body of the animal from the site where it was shot to the waiting hunting truck. The trophy should be protected from the hot metal bed of the hunting truck with a thick layer of cut grass or leaves.

So that nothing goes wrong, the skinning needs to start right away. Remove all of the meat, fat, dirt, and blood from the skin. Clean the skin well. After that, allow the skin to drip dry for a short time, it should then be salted. It is recommended to soak the skin in a salt solution for at least five hours and ideally overnight. Use about 20 kg of salt per 100 litres of water. After taking the skin out of the solution, salt it while it is still flat and flesh side up on a clean surface. To get the full effect of the salt, it needs to be absorbed into the skin all over, into all the crevice’s, especially around the facial features. Put the skin in the shade with a layer of salt on it. After 24 hours, dry the cape. Fold with the hair and ears in when it’s dry. To stop insect damage, pesticides must be sprayed on the skin and in the storage area.

Hunting Bongo

A Bongo is one of Africa’s most coveted trophy animals. Bongo hunting occurs mostly in the rain forests of the Central African Republic, Cameroon, and the Congo.

It is better to go on a Bongo hunt during the driest months of the year, even though the forest is hot and humid all year-round. Hunting in the heat and humidity is never pleasant, and only the most determined and intrepid hunters ever stand a chance at taking one of these impressive specimens.

While Bongo hunting used to be an extremely difficult and often unsuccessful endeavour, modern techniques have made it such that even novice hunters may successfully hunt a Bongo. Tracking by foot, tracking with dogs, or waiting at elevated machans with access to salt licks are your three alternatives. People who don’t use dogs to help them find their way are considered by some to be using a “purer” method. Although this presents a greater challenge, the main issue is that all you can really do is follow tracks and aim at a spot of red hide. It’s hard to get a good look at the horns and make an informed decision.

Rifles built of stainless steel with a synthetic or plastic stock are the most reliable. Considering the range and the speed of the shots, open sights are recommended. In terms of calibre, anything above.375 will do.

The Bongo taxidermy process and method

How you choose an Bongo taxidermy mount depends on things like your budget, wall space, and personal taste. When it comes to the creation of a full mount, we find that considerable discussion with the customer yields the best results. This is due to the fact that each form is given a distinct shape and arrangement.

Life-Form Taxidermy will make an exact copy of the skin as soon as they get all of your mounting instructions. All of the skins are tanned and oiled with high-quality products and methods to make sure they are preserved for years. Each skin is put on a manikin to make sure that it fits well. After the eyes and ears are expertly placed, the skin is sewn by a professional. Before making any last changes, the taxidermist waits until the animal is dry. They put the trophies in crates, and the shipping company hired by the client brings them to the client.

Taking care of your Bongo trophy

Every year, dust the mounts with a soft brush or compressed air to fluff up the hair. Trophies should be protected from common pests by spraying a light mist of normal aerosol surface pesticide around them. Think about preserving your trophy with Mount Medix Africa. This is a product that Life-Form Taxidermy offers.

Keep trophies in a cool, dry place. Daylight makes the mounts fade over time, so artificial light is better. If there’s too much humidity, open the windows or turn on a fan. Due to salt and tan residue, hair can make moisture beads when the humidity is high. Using a tissue that soaks up water will also soak up the salts.


How much does a Bongo trophy cost?

The pricing of any trophy is subject to the costing stipulated per taxidermy order, quantity of trophies and preferred mounting options, along with additional requirements.

Should you wish to receive a quotation prior to the hunt, the taxidermist can generate such for you. Please contact [email protected]

How long does a Bongo trophy take?

Taxidermy is an art form that involves a complicated step-by-step process to make sure that each trophy looks just right and is of a high enough quality that it will last your whole life.

The time it takes a taxidermist to mount an animal might range from days to weeks, and possibly several months, depending on the quantity of trophies per taxidermy order, the display preferences, and volumes of client trophies to be produced, simultaneously, per production schedule.

This depends largely on the “what, how, when” factors. A taxidermy order also only becomes available for production scheduling upon receipt of the required deposit and trophy mounting instructions.

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