“These results, documenting the high species richness and the outstanding number of putative endemics of the forests, strongly highlight the biological importance of the South Nguru Mountains and place them among the most important sites for the conservation of herpetofauna in Africa,” wrote Menegon and Nike Doggart, a co-author of a report published in the journal Acta Herpetologica
The discoveries highlight the region’s rich biodiversity, but Menegon and Doggart, together with Nisha Owen of the Frontier Tanzania Forest Research Program in Dar es Salaam, warn that the ecosystem is already under threat from fire, logging, fuelwood collection, and clearing for agriculture including cardamom cultivation. Nevertheless the authors are encouraged by the efforts of a Tanzanian NGO, the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG), to work with local stakeholders to improve conservation planning in the region.
“Villagers and government have identified a series of actions required to address the issue of forest loss,” the authors write. “This includes a combination of direct forest management activities such as developing and implementing forest management plans and boundary demarcation; and activities aimed at reducing local people’s dependence on unsustainable activities such as the current methods of cultivating cardamom.
“The program represents an opportunity to reverse the current trend of forest
loss and degradation. To succeed the program will need sustained commitment from the Government of Tanzania, civil society organizations, the local communities and development partners to conserve the unique biodiversity of this area,” they conclude.
CITATION: Michele Menegon, Nike Doggart, Nisha Owen. The Nguru mountains of Tanzania, an outstanding hotspot of herpetofaunal diversity. Acta Herpetologica 3(2): 107-127, 2008
Researchers have discovered the world’s largest shrew in a remote part of Tanzania where a trove on previously unknown species have been recorded in the past few years. The species is more than a quarter larger than any previously known shrew.
Conserving wildlife in Tanzania, Africa’s most biodiverse country November 8, 2006
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.
Africa’s first new species of monkey for over 20 years has been discovered in the remote mountains of southern Tanzania. Called the “Highland Mangabey” (Lophocebus kipunji), this long-haired forest primate was first discovered by conservation biologists from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) on the flanks of the 2961 m (10,000 ft) volcano Mt. Rungwe and in the adjoining Kitulo National Park. Remarkably, this highly secretive animal was later also found by another team working independently more than 350 km (230 miles) away. The discovery is described in the leading journal Science.