Mammals Inventory of the Kihansi River Gorge in Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania

Dennis K. Ikanda, Samuel N. Mtoka, Mustafa Hassanali, Anna Mshanga


The Kihansi gorge montane forest in Udzungwa Mountains forms part of the Eastern Arc Mountains (EAM) which contain some of the most biologically diverse and endemic montane ecosystems in all of Africa. The Kihansi river gorge was opened up for hydroelectric development in the late 1990s, attracting hundreds of farming communities whose activities lead to environmental degradation and hence presumed biodiversity loss in the montane forest which is not understood. Using camera traps, an inventory of mammals of the area was conducted for 24 consecutive days. About 14 mammal species were photo captured, indicating diverse assemblage of large and medium size mammals, including the bushbuck, bush pig, yellow baboons, Udzungwa red colobus monkey, black and white colobus monkey, red duiker and grey duiker in the Kihansi gorge montane forest. There is also an array of small mammals including porcupine, bush hyrax, Eastern tree hyrax, giant shrew and bushy-tailed mongooses. Analyses show that the mammalian diversity compares to other EAM montane forests, including adjacent Mwanihana forest. The inventory of mammals in the Kihansi forest indicates the presence of substantial types of species that comprise of the natural history of the greater Udzungwa Mountains. These findings emphasize the need to accord greater protection for the species and habitat of the Kihansi gorge.
Key words: Mammals, Montane forest, Kihansi gorge, Eastern Arc Mountains

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