Africa's rarest carnivore spotted in Tanzania
December 21, 2006
Africa's rarest carnivore, Jackson's mongoose, was spotted in the mountains of remote southern Tanzania by researchers with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Until now the species has been only known from a few observations and museum specimens.
The findings are reported in the latest issue of the journal Oryx.
The mongoose was recorded using a camera trap in in Matundu Forest within the Udzungwa Mountains National Park, a region that has recently yielded a number of species previously unknown to science.
Daniela DeLuca/Wildlife Conservation Society
"Given the fragmentation and small sizes of the forest patches in which they live, full protection of nearby forests would improve conditions for conserving this species." said Dr. Daniela De Luca, the WCS scientist who along with Dr. Francesco Rovero from Italy's Trento Museum of Natural Sciences, discovered the species in Tanzania.
Tanzania is Africa's most biodiverse country and its mountainous areas are still yielding unrecorded species. In 2004, WCS researchers working in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania discovered a new species of primate—the kipunji monkey—which in 2006 was described as an entirely new new genus of monkey. It was later found that the kipunji is also present in the Udzungwa Mountains.
Little is known about Jackson's mongoose, which has "round, broad ears, with yellow fur on the neck and throat, and a white bushy tail" according to WCS.
Conserving wildlife in Tanzania, Africa's most biodiverse country. With ecosystems ranging from Lake Tanganyika to Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania is the most biodiverse country in Africa. Though Tanzania is world famous for its safari animals, the country is also home to two major biodiversity hotspots: the Eastern Arc Mountains and the Albertine Rift surrounding Lake Tanganyika. Tanzania has set aside nearly a quarter of its land mass in a network of protected areas and more than one-sixth of the country's income is derived from tourism, much of which comes from nature-oriented travel. Despite these conservation achievements, Tanzania's wildlands and biodiversity are not safe. Fueled by surging population growth and poverty, subsistence agriculture, fuelwood collection, and timber extraction have fragmented and degraded extensive areas that are nominally protected. Hunting and unsustainable use of forest products have further imperiled ecosystems and species. In the near future, climate change looms as a major threat not only to Mt. Kilimanjaro's glaciers, which are expected to disappear within ten years, but also to Tanzania's many endemic plants and animals found in its montane forests
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