"Surveying just one section of the Eastern Arc, we discovered a little frog no one knew existed," said Nike Doggart, lead author of the article and Technical Advisor, Tanzania Forest Conservation Group. "Imagine what other wildlife we may discover if we can help preserve the whole mountain range."
Researchers found eleven species endemic to or found only in the Eastern Arc Mountain range. Among these eleven species are the Mountain dwarf galago, two chameleons, the checkered elephant shrew (Rhynchocyon cirnei) and several birds. The Eastern Arc forests have the densest occurrence of endemic species in all of Africa.
Over the course of the survey, researchers also observed some alarming encroachments into the forests where these animals live even though the forests are within official reserves. The team observed about 49 acres of one forest reserve had been cleared for bean and tobacco farms. Elsewhere, there was evidence of logging and hunting camps. These observations underscore the urgent need for additional conservation investment in the area and in helping limited forestry department staff with tiny budgets effectively manage the forest reserves.
The Rubeho Mountains are part of the Eastern Arc Mountain range in eastern Tanzania and located north of the city of Morogoro. Its forests are often covered in a blanket of mist during the night and help collect water for two nearby rivers which in turn provide water for several settlements and a town. As a crucial source of water and home to unique and threatened wildlife, World Wildlife Fund considers the Eastern Arc Mountain range and coastal East Africa a conservation priority and works with local communities and partners to protect the natural richness of the region.