The secretive suni

The tiny antelope seen in the forest are also known as 'paa’ in Kiswahili

In Summary

• Suni are often mistaken for dik dik

Suni with a tiny baby
Suni with a tiny baby

A while ago, while driving on the tar road towards the main gate in the late afternoon, I saw a tiny antelope eating next to the road. It was a tiny Suni. They are only found in the Langata forested section.

They are mostly seen if driving very slowly in the early morning or late afternoon, when they feed on green shoots and leaves. They are very shy and secretive and it is rare to get close to them, I mostly watch them through binoculars.

The suni suddenly ran across the road, and went into a thick clump of bushes. I looked and could scarcely believe my eyes. A tiny little lamb was trying to stand and suckle on its mother.

Wow! What a super suni sighting, a mega tick on my all time sightings in the park. The lamb could not have been more than an hour or two old, and the mother was trying to force it to walk, as she slowly moved away every time the lamb tried to stand and walk on its wobbly newborn legs. There is always something very precious and special about witnessing the start of a new life, especially when it is rarely seen.

Suni are often mistaken for dik dik. The tiny antelope seen in the forest are Suni (Neotragus moschatu), also known as 'Paa’ in Kiswahili, even smaller than dik dik, they are the smallest antelope in the park. They vary in colour from fawn grey to chestnut brown on the back with white underneath.

Over many years I have seen, albeit rarely, Kirk's dik dik inside the park, in the Athi basin and also near Masai gate in the Silole sanctuary.

Next time you drive through the Langata forest section, drive slowly and be on the lookout for the special secretive suni. 

For more information on the park link to the following website