On National Endangered Species Day we share our favourite 10 species that you never knew were endangered. Take our virtual Tanzanian safari tour to find out more.
The cheetah is the world’s fastest land mammal and the most unique member of the cat family. Found in the open grasslands of eastern and southwestern Africa, this agile and slender cat now faces an uncertain future due to loss of habitat, persecution from human settlers, and reduced prey.
Chimpanzees are our closest living relatives and can be found in savannah woodlands, and tropical forests. Having already disappeared from 4 African countries, chimpanzees are nearing extinction in many others and face a constant threat from deforestation and commercial hunting. To get up close to these intriguing primates, visit Greystoke Mahale, home to one to the world’s largest chimp populations.
These majestic animals having been roaming the African plains for thousands of years but now face severe threat from poaching, loss of habitat and human-wildlife conflict. Population: 415,000
AFRICAN WILD DOG
The African wild dog is one of the most endangered predators on the African continent, if not the most endangered, according to WWF. Also known as African hunting dog, African painted dog or painted wolf, these incredibly social animals differ from wolves and other dogs in that they have 4 toes instead of 5.
The Hippopotamus (meaning ‘river horse’ in Greek) is the 3rd largest living land mammal and spends most of the day in water or mud to stay cool. Once found throughout all of sub-Saharan Africa, hippo populations have largely been exterminated and are today mostly confined to protected areas and major rivers.
THE NILE CROCODILE
The Nile Crocodile lives throughout sub-Saharan Africa and can eat up to half its body weight at one feeding. The pre-historic-looking reptile was hunted close to its extinction in the 1940s, 50s and 60s and continues to decline due to pollution, hunting and habitat loss.
The Hawksbill turtle is one of five species of marine turtles that can be found off the Tanzanian coastline. Despite being protected under many national laws, as well as CITES, the trade in hawksbills products still constitutes a major threat to the species.
PEMBA FLYING FOX
Easily identifiable by their dog-like face and pointy ears, this unusual species of fruit bat can only be found on the Pemba Island, just off the coast of Tanzania. Environmental education in the local area has raised awareness of the importance of the species as well as the need for sustainable hunting.
ULUGURU BUSH SRIKE
Regarded as one of the rarest birds in Africa, the Uluguru bush shrike is endemic to Tanzania and is confined to one forest on the Uluguru Mountains. Despite ongoing conservation efforts the shrike population has come under pressure from extensive loss of forest habitat and remains Critically Endangered.
RED COLOBUS MONKEY
The red colobus monkey, like most primates, is a social animal and tends to live in groups of up to 100 individuals. Habitat destruction, caused by charcoal production, logging and hunting poses a major threat to the surviving populations, with warnings of extinction if these practices are not swiftly reversed.