Endangered antelope species sighted around Mt. Kilimanjaro

15Aug 2019
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Endangered antelope species sighted around Mt. Kilimanjaro

IT IS now official that Tanzania is home to a very rare antelope species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

rare antelope.

The first sighting of these antelopes - named Abbott's duiker - hails back to 2003, but now a team from Germany’s Julius-Maximilians University has captured them on camera.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, says it can be classified as endangered because there are so few - and yet a team of researchers have recorded footage of the previously-undocumented animal on Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Footage shows them amid the vegetation alongside a number of other animals, and provides fresh insight into the area's biodiversity.

The discovery of the rare animals is likely to trigger both local and international conservation efforts within the Kilimanjaro National Park to ensure that they multiply.

'We recorded the Abbott's Duiker with our video traps at eleven locations at altitudes between 1920 and 3849 meters for a total of 105 times,' says doctoral student Friederike Gebert from the JMU Biocenter.

'There's even a video of a mating attempt,' says the scientist.

And that's not the only special feature that has now been captured on film.

The team, led by JMU Professor Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter and Dr. Marcell Peters, installed a total of five camera traps each on 66 study plots at Kilimanjaro - from the savannah in the lowlands to the forest regions at medium altitudes to the bush landscape at altitudes of up to 4550 metres.

The cameras remained on site for two weeks, after which they were collected and evaluated.

Friederike Gebert had 80,000 film snippets to go through, of which 1,600 were actually showing mammals.

Among them were a total of 33 wild mammal species - in addition to the Abbott's duiker, species like bush pig and porcupine, lesser kudu and yellow baboon were documented.

Abbott’s duiker is active by both day and night and can weigh up to 130 lbs (60kg). Its diet includes fruits, flowers, green shoots and leaves (especially balsams).

It is also know to raid crops such as sweet potatoes, bananas, beans, cassava and cowpeas. The main non-human predator of Abbott’s duiker is the leopard although young are hunted by African crowned eagles and pythons. In the Udzungwa Mountains, the lion and spotted hyena are also predators.

It is a montane forest -dependent species, so it is only found in important, remnant patches of high biodiversity - disturbed and secondary montane forest and bamboo forest in the Southern Highlands, forests, swamps and moorland in Mt. Kilimanjaro and semi-deciduous and evergreen forests in the Udzungwa Mountains.