Environment

Endangered Mammals Of Nigeria

Northwest African Cheetahs, West African Lions, and Dama Gazelles are some of Nigeria's most threatened mammals.

Endangered mammals of Nigeria

Nigeria is a federal presidential republic located in the western parts of Africa with its capital in Abuja and Lagos being the largest city. One of the most amazing geographical features in the country is the Niger Delta which is formed by River Niger and River Benue; the two largest rivers in the county. In its border with Cameroon, there lies an expansive rainforest which offers a wide range of biodiversity. The area is rich with a vast number the endangered mammals.

Endangered Mammals Of Nigeria

Northwestern African cheetah

The appearance of this cheetah is quite different from the other cheetahs. They are almost white in color with black spots on the top parts of its body, which gradually changes to brown on the legs. The face lacks the spots, but black tear drops are visible. The body size of this cheetah is relatively smaller as compared to that of the common sub-Saharan cheetah. The cheetah has developed nocturnal characteristics to enable it to live in the hot Saharan desert. The northwestern African cheetah is carnivorous and preys mainly on antelopes, gazelles, and the addax. The IUCN has listed the animal as critically endangered. As at 2010, there were only 250 adult individuals worldwide.

West African lion

The West African lion is smaller in size as compared to a South African lion. It has almost all the same physical characteristics as the common lion except for the fact that males lack the mane. A recent study by the IUCN revealed that there were only 400 West African lions among which only 250 were adults. Habit loss is the leading threat to the Lions with over 20% of their natural habitat in Nigeria having been lost to agriculture. There are some these lions found in captivity in West Africa, and they are said to adapt well to the environment in captivity.

Dama gazelle

This is a white gazelle with a brown neck and head. Their horns are “S” shaped with the males’ being longer than those of the females. The adult weighs an average of 120lbs and measures 40 inches to the shoulder. Unlike most desert animals, dams are diurnal and use the pronking behavior to warn the herd of the incoming danger. The males become territorial during the mating period and use their urine to mark territories. Dams are not well adapted to dry conditions, and hence prolonged drought leaves most of them dead. Another threat facing damas is human threat as they are highly sought after for meat. The civil unrest has also contributed to their death in scores as the noise from guns and bombs make them be on the run, and most of them die from overheating and stress.

Western gorilla

This is on of the largest apes in the world measuring 61 inches in height and weighing 350 lbs. They are brownish in color wit a yellow forehead and an overhanging tip on the nose. The females are relatively smaller than the males. They are social mammals and live in a group of up to 20 animals made of the dominant male, other young males, the females, and their off springs. When the younger males attain maturity, they leave to form their own groups. The females may change groups before the breeding period. Their life expectancy is around 40 years, but their reproduction is slow which explains the low population growth. The gorillas feed on leaves, fruits, flowers, and stems. The Ebola virus is the leading threat to their existence with IUCN listing them as critically endangered.

Threats to the mammals of Nigeria

The West African lion been listed as a critically endangered species but have been kept in captivity in an attempt to increase their numbers. The Western gorilla has been listed as an endangered species due to its decreasing numbers which has been associated with habitat loss, and diseases among other factors. Human activities such as farming, hunting and lumbering are the major threats to the mammals of Nigeria.

Endangered Mammals of NigeriaScientific Name
Northwest African CheetahAcinonyx jubatus hecki
West African LionPanthera leo senegalensis
Dama GazelleGazella dama
White-Throated Guenon
Cercopithecus erythrogaster
Preuss's MonkeyCercopithecus preussi
Sclater's Guenon
Cercopithecus sclateri
DrillMandrillus leucophaeus
Red Colobus Monkey
Pennant's Colobus Monkey
Procolobus badius
Procolobus pennantii
Pygmy HippopotamusChoeropsis liberiensis
Western GorillaGorilla gorilla
Common ChimpanzeePan troglodytes
Gotel Mountain soft-furred mouse
Cameroonian Forest Shrew
Praomys obscurus
Sylvisorex camerunensis
West African GiraffeGiraffa camelopardalis peralta
Crested Servaline Genet
Genetta cristata
West African Wild DogLycaon pictus manguensis

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