For other uses, see Puku (disambiguation).
Male (Zambia)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Synapsida
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Reduncinae
Genus: Kobus
Species: K. vardonii
Binomial name
Kobus vardonii
(Livingstone, 1857)

The puku (Kobus vardonii) is an medium-sized antelope found in wet grasslands in southern Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia, Tanzania, and Zambia.[1] Nearly one-third of their species is found in protected areas, zoos, and national parks due to their diminishing habitat.[2][3]


Puku stand about 80 cm (31 in) at the shoulder and weigh from 70 to 80 kg (150 to 180 lb). The puku is sandy brown in colour, with the underbelly a slightly lighter brown. The coat is rougher than the similar-sized southern reedbuck, lechwe or impala, or the smaller oribi. Males have 50-cm-long, ridge-structured horns which are very vaguely lyre-shaped.[4]

Puku female and fawn, in South Luangwa NP, Zambia


Puku are found almost exclusively in marshy grassland and dambos of the Kilombero Valley of Tanzania, where they eat grasses.[3] Puku are crepuscular, active in the early morning and late afternoon. When scared, puku repeat a shrill whistle sound. Females gather in herds of up to 20 individuals. During the rainy season, many herds will come together for added safety, typically reaching around 50 females. Males hold territories and attempt to persuade herds of females to stay within their territories for as long as possible. In the wet season, due to large floods in their habitat they migrate to a high elevation and in dry seasons remain near water.[5]


  1. 1 2 IUCN SSC Antelope Specialist Group (2008). "Kobus vardonii". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 17 January 2009. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of near threatened
  2. Jenkins, R., H. Maliti, G. Corti. 2003. Conservation of the puku antelope in the Kilombero Valley, Tanzania. Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation, 12: 787-797.
  3. 1 2 Rodgers, W. 2008. Status of puku (Kobus vardoni Livingstone) in Tanzania. African Journal of Ecology, 22: 117-125.
  4. Skinner, J., C. Chimimba. 2005. The Mammals Of The Southern African Subregion. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press.
  5. Macdonald, D. 2006. The Princeton Encyclopedia of Mammals. London, U.K.: The Brown Reference Group.
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