Tanzania has many ecosystems and habitats, notably including its montane forests, Miombo woodlands, savannas, East African moorlands, acacia savannas, and rift valley forests. Collectively, these and other Tanzanian ecosystems serve as homes for more than 300 species of mammals, out of which 14 species are endemic, with many of them being threatened or vulnerable to threats to their populations. These animals are threatened mainly by poaching, habitat destruction, and fragmentation. Though some have been protected both by local and international law, their population keep declining.
Aders’ Duiker (Cephalophus adersi)
The Aders’ duiker is a critically endangered species found in Tanzanian Zanzibar and Kenya. The duiker has a height of 12 inches at the shoulder with an average weight of 7.5 to 12 kilograms. The coat of the duiker is reddish brown with a gray neck and lighter undersides and a red crest along the head. The duiker's horns are about 2 to 6 centimeters long. The duiker has a pointed muzzle and a flat nose. The duiker’s habitats are mainly coastal forests and woodlands. The shy animal is alert and very sensitive to sound. The diet of the duiker is composed of flowers, leaves, and fruits which it feeds on during the day. The duiker forages in solitary or in twos or threes.
Eastern Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli)
The critically endangered Eastern Black Rhinoceros is threatened by poaching of it for its horns. The rhino has a long, leaner and more curved horn. The rhino reaches 12 feet long and 5 feet high at the shoulders with a weight of about 3000 pounds. The rhinoceros mainly occupies areas between grasslands and forests in thick thorn bush or acacia scrub. The rhino is primarily nocturnal and feeds on leafy plants, thorny wood bushes, fruits and shoots. The rhino is mainly aggressive which helps to keep away predators and intruders. The rhino has a gestation period of 15 to 16 months after which it gives birth to a single young one. The young ones are sexually mature at five years.
Common Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes)
The common chimpanzee is a great ape species that has been listed as endangered. The chimpanzee has coarse black hair on its body, with a bare face, fingers, feet, toes, and palms and weighs about 40 to 65 kilograms and a length of 63 to 94 centimeters the chimpanzee stays in groups of 15 to 150 members led by a single male. The chimpanzee matures at about ten years and has a gestation period of 8 months. The chimpanzee uses tools such as sticks, rocks, grass and leaves which to acquire food such as honey, ants, termites, and water. The populations of the common chimpanzee are threatened by habitat loss, poaching and diseases. The common chimpanzee occupies a variety of habitats including savanna, evergreen forests, montane forests and semi-deciduous forests.
Desperate Shrew (Crocidura desperate)
The desperate shrew is an endangered mammal endemic to the Tanzanian subtropical and tropical moist montane forests at elevations of more than 1,500 meters. The species is thought to occur in the Uzungwe National Park and the Rungwe forests. The species resembles a mouse and has long fur on its body. The shrew is about 15 centimeters long and weighs 100 grams. The diet of the shrew is composed of insects, nuts, and worms. The shrew has a gestation period of 17 to 35 days and a lifespan of 12 to 30 months.
Eco-Tourism and Mammal Conservation in Tanzania
The presence of many large and outstanding mammals within the habitats of Tanzania makes it a top tourist destination for local and international tourists alike. Other endangered Tanzanian mammals, including the East African wild dog, Kihaule’s mouse shrew, the Rondo dwarf galago, the Tanzanian woolly bat, Telford’s shrew, the Usambara shrew, the Uzungwe vlei rat, and the Zanzibar red colobus monkey, are protected within the national parks and reserves of Tanzania.