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First surveys of Tanzanian mountains reveal 160+ animal species, including new & endemic

The first field surveys of the Rubeho Mountains in Tanzania revealed over 160 animal species--including a new species of frog and eleven endemic species--according to an article published in the African Journal of Ecology this month. The findings elevate the importance of protecting this biologically-rich wilderness area and the broader Eastern Arc Mountain range from destructive activities underway such as clear-cutting for agriculture, logging and poaching.

"The wealth of life that's supported by the Rubehos is typical of Tanzania's Eastern Arc Mountain range," Dr. Neil Burgess, co-author of the article and African conservation scientist, World Wildlife Fund. "We've documented some destruction already underway so protecting this mountain range's an urgent priority not just for its unique wildlife, but also for the people and economy of Tanzania. The Eastern Arc catches and gathers water for Tanzanians--generating about 50 percent of the nation's total electricity through its hydropower."

For a total of 112 days over two years, an international team of scientists from the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group, Oxford Brookes University, and the Zoological Museum of Copenhagen conducted surveys using a variety of methods including tracking, phototraps and audio recordings. The phototraps captured mammals like a Mountain dwarf galago (Galagoides orinus) and a red duiker (Cephalophus natalensis).

Using a tape recorder and directional microphone, researchers recorded the calls of two species of galagos. Galagos are small, nocturnal primates with large, round eyes commonly known as bushbabies. Some people believe "bush baby" refers to the animal's cries which can sound similar to the cries of human babies.

In one small valley, Nike Doggart of the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group discovered a new species of frog (Arthroleptis nikeae) hiding among the leaf litter under the forest canopy. The smooth-skinned, brown patterned frog measures about
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Source:World Wildlife Fund


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