Article by Fred Mlaponi
Tanzania is a part of the world which is situated in Africa continent; this region is very richest with the natural features. It contains the greatest mountain in Africa and the second in the world called Kilimanjaro, it also contains the mountain such as Udzungwa which is very famous in discovering of the species.
The Udzungwa Mountains are part of a series of earliest and isolated mountain blocks extending from southern Kenya to south-central Tanzania. The age, isolation and fragmented nature of the forests in these mountains have amalgamated to produce high levels of biodiversity, including many species that cannot be found elsewhere. In current years, a number of other new species have been found there, including the Udzungwa partridge, the Phillips’ Congo shrew, a monkey known as the kipunji, and several amphibians and reptiles. “This new discovery show how exceptionally significant the Udzungwa Mountain rain forests are.
Rhynchocyon udzungwensis, or gray-faced sengi, is the first new species of sengi to be discovered in more than a century. It is much larger than the other species, weighing in at 700g and measuring about 30cm in length. It has a distinctive grey colouring on its face and black lower rump.
A current survey indicate that the few remaining wildlife corridors linking the mountains to surrounding protected areas are critically threatened, and will be lost by the end of 2009 without intervention. Current conservation efforts have resulted in the formation of the Kilombero Nature Reserve, raising hopes for develop long-term protection of some important forests, including Ndundulu where the new sengi was found. Still, without more funding, the legal protection afforded by the reserve will be difficult to enforce. “We hope that new discoveries like ours will help bolster efforts to conserve this spectacular ecosystem,” says Rathbun.
The new supplement to the sengi family was first covered in 2005 when Francesco Rovero of the Trento Museum of Natural Sciences in Italy establish motion-sensing cameras in the forests of Tanzania’s Eastern Arc Mountains.
They finally able to capture four of the animals and could validate that this was indeed a new species of elephant shrew. The elephant-shrews are mammals of an order known the Macroscelidea; from the Greek meaning “long legs”. Though they have somesimilarity, they are actually not related to the shrew – a small mouse like animal found in many parts of the world. Scientists now prefer using the African name “sengi” to prevent the confusion with shrews.
Sengi form their own order of mammal, and get their common name from their long elephant-like snout which they use to flick up tasty insects. Genetics has shown that sengi share a common ancestor with golden-moles, the aardvark, manatees, dugongs, hyraxes and their namesake elephants!
The surrounding lands have been deforested by the pressure and needs of the people living in Tanzania. And so, the mountain forests have become islands in-between the arid heavily populated savannah land. These forest islands are home to over 30% of Tanzania’s plant and animal species.
The region harbors at least 100 species of mammals, birds, amphibians, and other vertebrates found nowhere else on earth, making it one of the densest concentrations of endemic species.
Apart from these species there are other species which are found in Tanzania, Tanzanian monkey found to be new species
A new species of monkey discovery in Tanzania’s highlands in recent year is an even more outstanding find than thought – it is a new genus of animal. The new monkey was at first called the highland mangabey but is now called kipunji. It is the first new genus of a living monkey from Africa to be discovery in 83 years.
The new African monkey was originally placed in the genus Lophocebus, commonly known as mangabeys.
“Had we gotten these surprising results based on a single gene, we did have been pretty sceptical, but each of the genes we analyzed either firmly supported the grouping of Kipunji with baboons or failed to support a close relationship between Kipunji and other mangabeys,” he said.
An mature Kipunji is about 90 centimeters tall, with a long tail, long grayish-brown fur, a black face, hands and feet. Adults make a distinct, loud, low-pitched ‘”honk-bark” call.
They live in mountainside trees at elevations of up to 2,400 meters and eat leaves, shoots, flowers, bark, fruit, lichen, moss and invertebrates.
The last new genus of African monkey to be named was Allen’s swamp monkey, exposed in 1907 but not identified as a new genus until 1923.
“This discovery also reinforces the view that mountains in southern Tanzania have played a significant and until currently unexpected – role as a refuge for many species long extinct elsewhere.” However many of these species are discovered, but great protection of these species must done so as to encourage tourism activities, this result to increase Tanzania’s national income as well as the foreign currency. This can be done through Government by introducing laws against poachers, who are the most causative of the disappearing of the species in Tanzania.
Also not only protection of these animals but also the vegetation in generals because it is the habitants of these animals, hence Tanzania should resist the deforestation, dimity fishing, wastage in the water bodies etc.
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For more information on visiting Tanzania’s mountains contact Mountain Kingdom
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