Mountain Nyala: Shy giants

My final Ethiopian antelope weighs about 100 times more than my first, and is much rarer.

The Mountain Nyala, Tragelaphus buxtoni, my last and largest antelope from the Ethiopia trip, is found only in Ethiopia. Our first glimpse was a big male browsing in the distance: they can weigh up to 300Kg, and be up to 53″ tall at the shoulder, Their horns always have creamy tips:


The Bale Mountains have a montane woodland ecozone at around 10-11,000 feet, and that is where the shy, elusive nyala are most often found. As we walked, they were all around us, but dissolved into the trees when we got too close. So we had only tantalizing glimpses:

Mountain Nyala, endemic to Ethiopia

Until this closer encounter:

Mountain Nyala, endemic to Ethiopia

They are endemic to the Ethiopian highlands, with half the total population in the Bale Mountains National Park. They are considered endangered, and there are thought to be only about 2500 adults left in the wild.

They might well remind you of the kudu or the bushbuck with their grayish coloring and white markings, and you would be right, they are related to both.

PS The Ethiopian 10 Birr coin has a nyala on the back, demonstrating their significance to Ethiopians.


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