Mountain Nyala

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Mammal Profile
Mountain Nyala

Based on Chris and Mathilde Stuart’s book, “Game Animals of the World,” published by African Hunting Gazette, here’s everything hunters need to know about the Mountain Nyala

English: Mountain Nyala
Latin:  Tragelaphus buxtoni
German: Bergnyala
French: Nyala de montagne
Spanish: Niala de Montaña
Measurements
Total length: 2 – 2.8 m (6.6‘– 9.2‘) (1.9 – 2.6 m (6.2‘– 8.5‘))
Tail:  25 cm (10”)
Shoulder Height:          Up to 1.35 m (4.4‘) (90 – 135 cm (3.0‘ – 4.4‘))
Weight:                Male 200 – 225 kg (441 – 496 lb)
300 kg maximum)

Female 150 – 200 kg (331 – 441 lb)
Description

It has a rather shaggy, greyish-brown coat with four poorly defined vertical whitish stripes on the sides, a white chevron usually present between the eyes, and two white patches on the throat. A short, alternate white and brown mane extends down neck and back. The bushy tail is dark above and white below. Only the bulls carry the openly spiraled horns that may reach up to 1.2 m in length. Bull and cow are similar in overall appearance, but the former is larger.

Distribution

Part of the population is in the Bale Mountain National Park, the remainder surrounding this park, east-central Ethiopia to the east of the Rift Valley. Restricted to the Bale and Arsi Mountains, with the main concentration in about 200 km² (77 mi²) of the Gaysay area of the national park. A very limited number of hunting permits are issued, but this could fluctuate, or be stopped. Because of its endangered status, trophy importation into some countries could be problematic.

Conservation standing

It is believed that numbers are 2 000 to 4 000 individuals, of which >1 200 are in Bale Mountain National Park. Once much more widespread they are now restricted by loss of habitat and direct hunting pressure. The mountain nyala was not discovered by the outside world until 1908, when it had a wider but still restricted distribution, and was far more abundant than it is today. It was estimated in the 1960s that as many as 8 000 animals survived, but, as human populations have grown along with their livestock numbers, great expanses of mountain nyala habitat has been destroyed or so greatly modified that it is no longer suitable for these magnificent antelope. One estimate in 2005 indicated that approximately 500 nyala occurred in formal hunting blocks to the east of the Bale massif. In hunting areas to the north of the Bale Mountains National Park there are believed to be no more than 100 mountain nyala. Recent surveys indicate that the largest population is outside the national park on the eastern escarpment of the massif, centred on Besemena Odobullu and Shedom Berbere.

Habitats

Mixed woodland, montane heath and moorland at altitudes of between 3 000 and 4 200 m (9 850 – 13 800 ft). The majority of the population live at altitudes between 2 400 and 3 200 m a.s.l. Highest mountain nyala densities (up to 21 animals to the square kilometer) have been observed in the montane grasslands of the Gaysay area. Here they feed in the open at night, retreating to the woodland during the day.  Because of human modification of prime nyala habitats, it is believed that this has forced these animals to occupy higher altitudes than previously.

Behavior

Mountain nyala live in herds of 4 – 6, sometimes up to 15 animals, although larger gatherings of up to almost 100 individuals were recorded in the past. Adult bulls are usually solitary, with younger bulls in loose bachelor groups that are very fluid, and nursery groups of cows and calves. Bulls exhibit no territoriality, but a dominance hierarchy is established. Apparently mainly night active, but in protected areas they are also, to a certain extent, diurnal. There is some seasonal movement, with denser habitats being favored during the dry season.

Breeding
Mating season:  70% of births at end of rainy season
Gestation: Not known
Number of young: One
Birth weight: Not known
Sexual maturity:  Not known
Longevity: Not known
Food
Browsers that take a wide range of herbaceous plants, but some grass is eaten.

Rifles and Ammunition
Suggested Caliber: .7mm – .338 magnum.
Bullet: Expanding bullet designed for penetration.
Sights: Medium to high-range variable scope.
Hunting Conditions: Expected medium to long-range shots in mountain habitat.