By the Numbers

A tally of the game Theodore and Kermit Roosevelt took on their historic safari.

Theodore Roosevelt and his son Kermit sit atop a Cape buffalo taken during their famed African safari. (Photo: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History)


Oceans of ink have been spilled by those seeking to describe Theodore Roosevelt’s famed 1909-10 safari, not the least of which was by TR himself. His own account of the hunt, African Game Trails, runs 585 pages in length (depending on the version). But as his and Kermit’s months under the African sun were primarily aimed at collecting specimens for museums—it was officially known as the Smithsonian-Roosevelt African Expedition, in that order—the final tally of the game taken was the most important indicator of the trip’s success or failure.

And what a tally it was! In all, 512 animals were taken by the Roosevelt boys, everything from lions to pythons to flamingos. Here is the full breakdown of one of history’s greatest hunts.



Lion: TR, 9; Kermit, 8

Leopard: TR, 0; Kermit, 3

Cheetah: TR, 0; Kermit, 7

Hyena: TR, 5; Kermit, 4

Elephant: TR, 8; Kermit, 3

Square-mouthed (white) rhinoceros: TR, 5; Kermit, 4

Hook-lipped (black) rhinoceros: TR, 8; Kermit, 3

Hippopotamus: TR, 7; Kermit, 1

Warthog: TR, 8; Kermit, 4

Common zebra: TR, 15; Kermit, 4

Big or Grévy’s zebra: TR, 5; Kermit, 5

Giraffe: TR, 7; Kermit, 2

Buffalo: TR, 6; Kermit, 4

Giant eland: TR, 1; Kermit, 2

Common eland: TR, 5; Kermit, 2

Bongo: TR, 0; Kermit, 2

Kudu: TR, 0; Kermit, 2

Situtunga: TR, 0; Kermit, 1

Bushbuck (East African): TR, 2; Kermit, 4

Bushbuck (Uganda harnessed): TR, 1; Kermit, 2

Bushbuck (Nile harnessed): TR, 3; Kermit, 3

Sable: TR, 0; Kermit, 3

Roan: TR, 4; Kermit, 5

Oryx: TR, 10; Kermit, 3

Wildebeest: TR, 5; Kermit, 2

Neuman’s hartebeest: TR, 0; Kermit, 3

Coke’s hartebeest: TR, 10; Kermit, 3

Big hartebeest (Jackson): TR, 14; Kermit, 7

Big hartebeest (Uganda): TR, 1; Kermit, 3

Big hartebeest (Nilotic): TR, 8; Kermit, 4

Topi: TR, 12; Kermit, 4

Common waterbuck: TR, 5; Kermit, 3

Singsing waterbuck: TR, 6; Kermit, 6

Common kob: TR, 10; Kermit, 6

Vaughn’s kob: TR, 1; Kermit, 2

White-eared kob: TR, 3; Kermit, 2

Saddle-backed lechwe: TR, 3; Kermit, 1

Bohor reedbuck: TR, 10; Kermit, 4

Chanler’s buck: TR, 3; Kermit, 4

Impalla: TR, 7; Kermit, 5

Big gazelle (Granti): TR, 5; Kermit, 3

Big gazelle (Robertsi): TR, 4; Kermit, 6

Big gazelle (Notata): TR, 8; Kermit, 1

Thomson’s gazelle: TR, 11; Kermit, 9

Gerenuk: TR, 3; Kermit, 2

Klipspringer: TR, 1; Kermit, 3

Oribi: TR, 18; Kermit, 8

Duiker: TR, 3; Kermit, 2

Steinbuck: TR, 4; Kermit, 2

Dikdik: TR, 1; Kermit, 1

Baboon: TR, 0; Kermit, 3

Red ground monkey: TR, 1; Kermit, 0

Green monkey: TR, 0; Kermit, 1

Black and white monkey: TR, 5; Kermit, 4

Serval: TR, 0; Kermit, 1

Jackal: TR, 0; Kermit, 1

Aardwolf: TR, 0; Kermit, 1

Rattel: TR, 0; Kermit, 1

Porcupine: TR, 0; Kermit, 1

Ostrich: TR, 2; Kermit, 0

Great bustard: TR, 4 (1 on the wing); Kermit, 3 (1 on the wing)

Lesser bustard: TR, 1; Kermit, 1

Kavirondo crane: TR, 2 (on the wing); Kermit, 1 (on the wing)

Flamingo: TR, 0; Kermit, 4

Whale-headed stork: TR, 1; Kermit, 1 (on the wing)

Marabou: TR, 1; Kermit, 1

Saddle-billed stork: TR, 1 (on the wing); Kermit, 0

Ibis stork: TR, 2 (1 on the wing); Kermit, 0

Pelican: TR, 1; Kermit, 0

Guinea-fowl: TR, 5; Kermit, 5

Francolin: TR, 1; Kermit, 2

Fish eagle: TR, 0; Kermit, 1

Vulture: TR, 0; Kermit, 2

Crocodile: TR, 1; Kermit, 3

Monitor: TR, 0; Kermit, 1

Python: TR, 3; Kermit, 1


The two also used a Fox shotgun to take Egyptian geese, yellow-billed mallards, francolins, spurfowl, and sand grouse for the camp’s meals, as well as other unrecorded birds for specimens.

In total, TR took 296 animals to Kermit’s 216. To cut critics of the hunt off at the pass, Roosevelt ended his book with the following defense:

Kermit and I kept about a dozen trophies for ourselves; otherwise we shot nothing that was not used either as a museum specimen or for meat—usually for both purposes. We were in hunting grounds practically as good as any that have ever existed, but we did not kill a tenth, nor a hundredth part of what we might have killed had we been willing. The mere size of the bag indicates little as to a man’s prowess as a hunter, and almost nothing as to the interest or value of his achievement.


Hear, hear!



African Game Trails is available in a hardbound Trade edition from Sporting Classics. The 585-page version includes maps and photographs from the hunt, as well as drawings by Philip R. Goodwin.

Only four left; click here to order.




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