Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Puku

© Lip Kee

puku

Class: Mammalia

Order: Cetartiodactyla

Family: Bovidae

Scientific Name: Kobus vardonii

IUCN Red List status:Near Threatened


Protected by the following WLT projects:

 

Kasanka National Park

 


Species Range (IUCN)

Description

Puku are fawn-coloured members of the Reduncici (water dependent antelope, often with forward-facing horns) tribe of antelope, with reddish-brown legs, shaggy fur and large, furry ears. 

Behaviour

This antelope can be found in groups of males or females (3-15 individuals) throughout most of the year, but smaller herds come together in the dry season to form herds of 50 or more. During the wet season, mature males will defend small territories through which females migrate, looking for food. In areas with substantial differences in food between the dry and wet seasons, puku give birth during the wet season when food is available and vegetation provides cover for calves. 

Habitat

One of the traits of the Reduncini tribe which Puku belong to (with lechwe, waterbuck and reedbuck) is water dependence, as populations are rarely found further than a few miles away from water. For Puku, this means moist savanna, floodplains, swamps and riversides.

Threats and Conservation

Puku are easy to approach during the dry season when they have gathered in large herds on floodplains, and are hunted for bushmeat and their skins. Habitat fragmentation due to human developments and land use change is also affecting Puku populations, particularly when cattle herds are grazed on floodplains.

References

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