No. 1 zebra or banded duiker
Updated: Oct 19, 2018
Africa has some fourteen to eighteen species of duikers, which are very small antelopes. The word duiker is of Dutch origin and it means to “scoot under,” which is quite appropriate because duikers scoot under bushes and thick vegetation to get away from potential threats. Duikers come in many varieties, with the largest of them (the Jentink's and yellow-backed duikers) weighing as much as 150 pounds, and the smallest (the blue duiker) weighing about eight pounds. They occur from Senegal to South Africa wherever suitable habitat is found, which is mostly where there is thick vegetation. Duikers typically reproduce at a quick rate and seem to survive even prolonged pressures from subsistence hunting. When given some protection and when subjected to controlled sport hunting programs, they thrive.
Some duikers are easy to hunt, like the blue duiker, which is found in many trophy collections. Others, such as the Abbott's duiker, are very difficult or nearly impossible to hunt. Of all the duikers, the most prized is the zebra or banded duiker. This beautiful animal has a fawn-tan hide with eight to ten vertical stripes on the rear half of the animal. They are only found in Liberia and possibly two adjacent countries. Since World War II they were hunted for a brief period during the 1960s by such African pioneers as James Mellon. They were again hunted, intermittently, in the 1980s and 1990s. Then, very recently, Liberia was once again opened to hunting, so zebra duikers are being hunted once more. The problem with zebra duikers is that they are not only hard to find and, even within Liberia, very localized, but they also live in one of the world’s hotspots for civic strife. It seems if there is not a revolution going on, then there is a war with a neighboring country, and, as that clears up, Ebola strikes.
The zebra duiker shown here was shot in 1999 when the country was open for two seasons. This is a monster, with its longest horn measuring–are you sitting down?—a whole 3 1/8 inches. This is bigger by nearly one inch from the next largest zebra duiker on record!
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