Thursday, January 11, 2007

 

Africa's least-known carnivore in Tanzania

The Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced today that a camera-trap study in the mountains of Southern Tanzania has now recorded Africa's least-known and probably rarest carnivore: Jackson's mongoose (info), known only from a few observations and museum specimens. The findings, reported in the latest issue of the journal Oryx, mark not only a range extension for the bushy-tailed carnivore, previously known to exist only in Kenya, but also another species for the Udzungwa Mountains, a veritable 'lost world' of rare and unique wildlife.

WCS scientist Dr. Daniela De Luca - together with Dr. Francesco Rovero from Italy's Trento Museum of Natural Sciences - captured several images of the Jackson's mongoose in Matundu Forest within the Udzungwa Mountains National Park. Most of the photos were taken between the hours of 7 p.m. and 6 a.m., indicating that the animal is largely nocturnal.

"These mongooses may represent a separate subspecies from the one that exists in Kenya," said Dr. De Luca of WCS' Tanzania Program. "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."

Continued at "Africa's least-known carnivore in Tanzania"

Also reported (with images) by the Environmental News Service

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Based on the paper:

First records in Tanzania of the Vulnerable Jackson's mongoose Bdeogale jacksoni (Herpestidae)

Abstract

New records in Tanzania of the Vulnerable Jackson's mongoose Bdeogale jacksoni expand its distribution by over 900 km to the south. During two independent camera-trap surveys over 3 years B. jacksoni, one of Africa's most cryptic small carnivores and previously thought to be endemic to Kenya, was recorded in forests of the Udzungwa Mountains. All records were highly localized within Matundu forest, at a maximum of 2.65 km apart. Most of the records (73%) were between 19.00 and 00.00, confirming that the species is primarily nocturnal. Conservation recommendations include further ecological research, genetic analyses, surveys in other Eastern Arc and ground-water dependent forests, and greater protection for Matundu.

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