Cambridge University project Mount Nilo ’95, Tanzania

Nathalie Seddon

This project surveyed forest birds and mammals in northern Tanzania. The team assessed the ecological requirements and threats to the survival of restricted-range and globally threatened birds in remnant patches of submontane forest in the East Usambara and Nguu Mountains. In both ranges, much submontane forest remains unprotected, and even that within reserves suffers degradation. The team identified the urgent need for an effective long-term conservation programme in the area to help preserve forests for both threatened species and local people. The team recommended that Mt Nilo and Nguru North Catchment Forest Reserves should be designated as Important Bird Areas by BirdLife International. Site-specific management recommendations were also presented. The team included three Tanzanian biologists and worked with the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania, the East Usambara and Tanga Catchment Forest Projects.

Project update: 23/3/97. In July-October 1995, Project Mount Nilo, a conservation expedition organised from the University of Cambridge, surveyed forest birds and mammals in northern Tanzania. The project studied the restricted range, endemic and threatened birds at two sites in the Mount Nilo Catchment Forest Reserve in the East Usambara Mountains and at two sites in the Nguru North Catchment Forest Reserve in the Nguu Mountains. In the East Usambaras, a total of 91 species of birds and nine mammal species were recorded, including four threatened bird and two threatened mammal species. In the Nguus, 97 bird species and 20 mammal species were inventoried, including two threatened bird species and two threatened mammal species. The presence of such species highlights the importance of the reserves to the national and international scientific and conservation communities. However, much submontane forest remains unprotected in both ranges. The project recommends both Reserves for designation as IBAs (Seddon et al. 1995)