Cambridge Tanzania rainforest project 1992

Mathias Hague

A survey of threatened birds and mammals in several tropical montane forest blocks was implemented, to assess their relative importance for conservation. Species lists were made and approximate densities of the rare species calculated. Nine globally threatened bird species were found in the mountains, one of which was a new species for the area. Rare mammals were recorded including a recently discovered species of Bushbaby. Substantial new colonies of endemic African Violets were found covering a variety of habitats. Discussions with local people were used to identify the human pressures on the forests and indicate solutions. Data was made available to the existing IUCN conservation programme in the area and the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania. The project is intended to be a long term venture.

Results: one new snake sp.; one undescribed Galago sp.; 2 Red Data mammal spp.; new records of East Coast Ackalat, Sokoke Scops Owl, and Usumbara Eagle Owl; new colonies of 2 species of African violets; people surveys showed importance of forests for timber --> threat; questionnaire survey (by A. Makange) results are being used by the IUCN project; two expedition members will work on the 'Kambai Forest Conservation Programme' (£28,000 pledge by UK volunteers). (MKP questionnaire).

Project update: 16/2/98. This project conducted biological surveys in the Usambara mountains of north-east Tanzania. Six threatened and three near-threatened bird species were recorded, including new records of East Coast Akalat (Sheppardia gunning), Sokoke Scops-owl (Otus ireneae), and Usumbara Eagle Owl (Bubo vosseleri). In addition, a new snake species was discovered, two Red Data listed mammals and one undescribed Galago species were observed, and new colonies of two species of African Violets (Saintpaulia spp.) were recorded. A people-oriented survey conducted by a Tanzanian team member also revealed that reliance for timber is an importnat threat to the forests. Three team members continued work on the Kambai Forest Conservation Programme, with funds raised in by the UK volunteers.