Forests in Tanzania are at threat of losing most of it’s wildlife and the biggest threat to the animals of the forests is the bush-meat trade. Many large forest animals are already hunted out locally and hunters are now targeting smaller species.
Wildlife losses found in 3 separate studies.
The report which is made up of three separate studies based on the Uzungwa Scarp Forest Reserve (USFR) noted that hunters were already setting snares to target smaller species because the larger species had effectively been hunted out of the reserve. Some of the species at real concern for scientists were:
- black colobus monkeys,
- white colobus monkeys,
- Uzungwa red colobus monkey – found only in the reserve,
- Abbotts duiker.
Bush meat’s importance to local economy.
Bush-meat has an important role in the local economy. While commercial hunting was undertaken into the 1990′s most bush-meat hunting is now for local markets and households. 35% of local families use bush-meat as a supplements to their diets and 15% use it as an important source of food. The Udzungwas are the pearl of the Eastern Arc Mountains because they contain the largest forests and have extraordinary numbers of plant and animal species found nowhere else on earth
The Udzungwas are the pearl of the Eastern Arc Mountains because they contain the largest forests and have extraordinary numbers of plant and animal species found nowhere else on earth
Of a smaller concern is habitat loss and degradation. Evidence was found for logging and other disturbance within the reserve but the major threat was clearly the snaring and killing of animals to support the bush meat trade. The full impacts of the hunting is demonstrated by both the black and white colobus monkeys neither of which has been seen in the reserve since 2009.
Action required to protect forest wildlife.
The authors are calling for a range of immediate action to prevent any further loss of wildlife from the forest and to try and help restore the reserves biodiversity. In the short term the authors are calling for;
- improved law enforcement
- train and support local communities to become involved in the management of the reserve
- upgrade the legal status of the reserve
In order to try an help restore the wildlife in the reserve researchers are also calling for improvements to the Mngeta wildlife corridor and for it to be incorporated into the Kilmbero Nature Reserve to help wildlife to transfer between reserves.
The pdf of the full report can be downloaded. Uzungwa Scarp Forest Reserve in Danger.
Report launch quotes.
Speaking at the launch of the report Arafat Mtui, coordinator of the Udzungwa Ecological Monitoring Centre said, “Some species in this region are on the brink of extinction from one of their last remaining strongholds, especially the Udzungwa red colobus, a monkey species found only in these mountains and nowhere else in the world.”
Lead author Francesco Rovero from Trento Museum of Natural Sciences in Italy said, “The Udzungwas are the pearl of the Eastern Arc Mountains because they contain the largest forests and have extraordinary numbers of plant and animal species found nowhere else on earth, including two species of monkeys. Unfortunately, while some of the forests are protected by the Udzungwa Mountains National Park, there are important forests such as Uzungwa Scarp Forest Reserve that have not been granted adequate protection.”
“Action is needed now if we are to reverse the trends of biodiversity and forest loss before it is too late. The government needs to allocate the resources that are required to manage this national treasure and to address the needs of the adjacent communities,” said Charles Meshack, Executive Director of the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group, Tanzania’s leading NGO in forest conservation.