Antilope enano (Sp), Batesböckchen (G), Antilope de Bates (F). Also called Bates dwarf antelope. Named for George L. Bates (1883-1940), an amateur naturalist and farmer who settled in Cameroon.
DESCRIPTION Shoulder height 12-13 inches (30-33 cm). Weight 12-14 pounds (5.4 to 6.4 kg).
The Bates pygmy antelope is a very small antelope with an arched back and slender legs. It is similar to the royal antelope, but twice as large. To a great extent, it is intermediate between the royal antelope and the suni. The general color of the western subspecies batesi is dark chestnut, with the back darker than the flanks, and the lower legs lighter. The throat and underparts are whitish or cream. The tail is uniformly dark brown except for a white tip, and is fairly long and bushy. Very small false hoofs are sometimes present, or replaced by a bare patch of skin. The horns (males only) are tiny, slightly roughened at the base, set well apart, and inclined backward in the plane of the face. Females are similar to males, but without horns.
The eastern subspecies harrisoni has a more intense coloring, with dark areas darker and light areas lighter, and has white fetlocks and a small white spot above the front hoof. It is sometimes called the Harrison pygmy antelope, and some consider it a separate species.
BEHAVIOR Little known because of its nocturnal, secretive ways, but probably similar to the royal antelope. Few specimens have been obtained.
HABITAT High rain forest.
DISTRIBUTION & TAXONOMIC NOTES Two subspecies in separate populations: (1) A western population (batesi) is found from the Niger River in Nigeria eastward through southern Cameroon, northern Gabon and northern Congo (B) north of the equator; and (2) an eastern population (harrisoni) occurs in northeastern Congo (K), extending into the Semliki Forest of southwestern Uganda. The subspecies are not separated here. West of the Dahomey Gap, the Bates pygmy antelope's ecological niche is occupied by the royal antelope.