Over the past two months we have profiled some of the amazing endemic animal species found in Tanzania – with the exception of a couple that are also found in parts of Kenya, these species we profiled are found no where else in the world. These profiles have provided a window into the lives of these animals and the real and escalating threats to the forests they call home. If we are to ensure the existence of these unique species, we must protect their remaining habitat – something ARC has been doing for over twenty years.
Today we leave you with our last post in this series, a profile of the Ader’s Duiker
This species is only found on the island of Zanzibar, Tanzania and in the northern forests of Kenya.
The Ader’s Duiker (Cephalophus adersi) belongs to a subfamily of small to medium sized antelopes. It is the rarest and most endangered species of duiker and is about the size of a domestic cat. It is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN Red List. There is estimated to be around 640 individuals remaining on Zanzibar and around 500 in Kenya. However, these estimates are over ten years old and populations have most likely declined since then. The Ader’s Duiker is found in a very particular habitat, preferring tall, undisturbed old growth thicket for its protection and privacy. Their bodies are small and stocky, an adaptation development for swift movement through the dense undergrowth. They are usually found traveling solo but have also been observed in pairs or trios. Their diet consists of leaves, seeds, sprouts, buds, and fruits. They will often follow a troop of Kirk’s Red Colobus monkeys, waiting for discards to drop down to the forest floor. They have been observed going long periods without drinking water, obtaining much of what the moisture they need from their diet. Ader’s Duikers appear to be largely diurnal and have very receptive hearing and smell. Secretions from their face are left behind and act as territory markings for other members of the species.
Threats and Solutions
Hunting and habitat loss pose serious threats to the survival of the Ader’s Duiker. Populations on Zanzibar and in Kenya have seen significant losses in numbers due to a long tradition of hunting in these areas. Many households that are near the range of these animals practice hunting or trapping. But perhaps the most serious threat to this animal is the loss and degradation of its habitat, primarily due to logging, which has intensified in recent years. However, both Kenya and Zanzibar have recovery plans for this species and list them under protection by law and both regions have strictly protected nature reserves that coincide with the duiker’s range. Continued research, local wildlife management programs, environmental education, and monitored hunting are all initiatives that contribute to the survival of this unique animal.