Civil unrest, corruption, and rampant poverty contribute to the threats seen among the Democratic Republic of the Congo's mammals. Illegal logging in the forested areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo destroys the natural habitats of these species. Also forests fires not only kill but also contribute to habitat loss. Human activities tend to turn the tropical rainforests to deserts which worsen the condition. The Mount Kahuzi Climbing Mouse (Dendromus kahuziensis) and Northern White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) species are on the verge of extinction as a result of habitat loss and poaching respectively. From the Congo forests to the black market illegal and excessive killing of rhinos have brought an end to the availability of the white rhinos in their native homes.
Northern White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum cottoni)
The rare Northern white rhinoceros is found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and parts of East Africa. The species is a grazer in the savanna woodlands and grassland. It is the second largest land mammal and adults are around 1.85 meters tall and can weigh as much as 3.6 tons for males and 1.7 tons for females. They have a square lip, and the muzzle is broad. The rhinos have a longer skull; their forehead is less sharply defined and has a more pronounced shoulder hump. The species have two horns and almost hairless. Females reach sexual maturity at 4 to 5 years of age, but reproduction starts at 6 to 7 years and males mate at 10 to 12 years old. Mating is throughout the year with a gestation period of 16 months and 2 to 3 years between calving. The rhinos are active in early morning hours, late afternoon, and evening. On hot days, they stand in shades or roll in muddy pools to rid themselves of parasites.The species is critically endangered, and by 2011, the population was already extinct in the Garamba National Park; where the species was under conservation. Excessive poaching and lack habitat threaten these animals. So far only three northern white rhinos remain and all are in the Ol Pajeta Conservancy in Kenya where they are guarded by armed watchers day and night.
West African Lion (Panthera leo senegalensis)
The West African Lion is native to Western Africa. Their populations are small and today less than 1,800 lions live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other West and Central African States. The West African Lion is smaller than Southern African lions. Their manes are also small, and they live in small groups. The species prefers to live in rainforests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They also survive in mountainous, shrubby, forested or semi-deserts as long as there is enough cover. The West Africa Lion is Polygynous and breeds all year-round.When mating the first male member of the pride reaching a female on heat has the mating advantage over her. Fighting of males in the same pride is unusual, but the ruling male usually has at most two years before another younger and stronger member comes up to challenge him. Female breeds every two years when the succession of male pride occurs. The new pride master kills the cubs of the defeated male so that he can reproduce with females who would otherwise be unavailable to them during their reign. As such, lionesses defend their litters vigorously during a takeover sometimes to death. When the Cubs have been killed the female returns to estrus within 2 to 3 weeks and mating takes place again. Similar to other lions in the Panthera leo species, the West Africa lion is predominantly carnivorous. They hunt in groups, but individual killings are common. Human poaching is the biggest threat facing these mammals. Humans also poison carcasses to kill the lions indirectly. Western Africa is devoid of lions, and so far the West Africa lion is considered regionally endangered. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the species are protected in the Garamba National Park which has 175 and 60 in Virunga National Park.
Gallagher's Free-Tailed Bat (Chaerephon gallagheri)
The Gallagher's free-tailed bat is known from its type locality in the Scierie Forest around 30 kilometers southwest of Kindu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Similar to other members of its genus, it is known to fly at high altitudes and roost in hollow trees, crevices, and caves. The free-tailed bat has a tail that extends to the hind legs. A skin membrane joins the ears. It prefers to inhabit the open forests, savanna, and farmlands. There is little information regarding the social structure of the species.The specific threats are unknown, but habitat loss resulting from the conversion of forests into agricultural lands and timber extraction may pose as threats.Besides, there are no direct measures to protect the species. The Chaerephon gallagheri feeds on a wide variety of insects.
Mount Kahuzi Climbing Mouse (Dendromus kahuziensis)
The Mount Kahuzi climbing mouse is a rodent native only to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The rodent prefers the tropical forests and frequently uses its semi-prehensile tail to navigate the woods by jumping from one tree branch to another. The undersides are white to yellow while the top is brownish. Similar to other members of the Dendromus genus, it has three well-defined digits. The rat is nocturnal spending the day in small spherical nests of shredded vegetation. The illegal logging in the country causes a habitat loss and putting the rodent as a critically endangered species. So far only two species have been found in the wilderness of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The diet consists of berries, seeds, insects, small lizards, birds' eggs and nestlings. The Kahnti-Biega National Park offers protection to the two species found only in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Human activities such as deforestation, forest fires, and illegal poaching are driving these mammals to the brink of extinction.
What are the Threatened Mammals of the Democratic Republic of the Congo?
Threatened mammals of the Democratic Republic of the Congo include the West African lion, the Eastern gorilla, and the bonobo.
Threatened Mammals Of The Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Congo-Kinshasa)
|Threatened Mammals of the Democratic Republic of the Congo||Scientific Name|
|Mount Kahuzi climbing mouse||Dendromus kahuziensis|
|Gallagher's free-tailed bat||Chaerephon gallagheri|
|West African lion||Panthera leo senegalensis|
|Northern white rhinoceros||Ceratotherium simum cottoni|
|Eastern gorilla||Gorilla beringei|
|Western gorilla||Gorilla gorilla|
|Common chimpanzee||Pan troglodytes|
|Delany's swamp mouse||Delanymys brooksi|
|East African wild dog|
Cape wild dog
Chadian wild dog
|Lycaon pictus lupinus|
Lycaon pictus pictus
Lycaon pictus sharicus
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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