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New bongo strikes a chord at Paignton Zoo

Paignton Zoo is thrilled to announce the arrival of a new eastern mountain bongo named Bowie. Bowie, an 11-year-old male, has made the journey from Woburn Safari Park in Bedfordshire to join the conservation charity’s two females, Ada and Azizi, with hopes that they will breed.

240605 PZ Bongo Bowie AS LR 3

Eastern mountain bongo – Tragelaphus eurycerus isaaci – are listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. Bowie’s transfer to Paignton has been recommended under the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) breeding programme, which aims to bolster the population of this species through strategic breeding efforts across accredited zoos. Bowie’s arrival marks a significant step towards the conservation of these rare animals.

Sam Gray, Paignton Zoo’s Team Leader of Large Mammals, said:

“We are delighted to welcome Bowie to Paignton Zoo. Bowie’s participation in this breeding programme emphasises our dedication to preserving biodiversity and ensuring a brighter future for eastern mountain bongo.”

One of the largest forest antelopes, the eastern bongo – also known as the mountain bongo – can today only be found in a remote mountainous area of central Kenya. There are thought to be fewer than 150 eastern bongo left in the wild today. The biggest threats to them are hunting and the destruction of their habitat.

Bowie will be kept away from the females in a separate quarantine area for the first few days, but will still be visible to the public. Inquisitive introductions through the fence between them indicate a positive first meeting, and the team are confident that the three will assimilate well.