Dar-es-Salaam, Oct 27:
Twenty-seven new vertebrate species have been found in Tanzania’s Eastern Arc Mountain forests, said a new study availed by Xinhua Monday.
The study was conducted by an international team, including researchers from the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG) and the MUSE-Science Museum in Italy, and was financed by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).
This was an exciting finding and highlighted the need to invest more in conserving these mountain forests, said Charles Leonard from the TFCG, co-author of the study.
“Twenty-three of the 27 new species that we reported in the study are amphibians and reptiles,” said Michele Menegon, researcher with the Tropical Biodiversity Section at MUSE.
Some of these species, with their history up to 100 million years, are evidence of the great age, forest stability and unique evolutionary history of these mountains, she said.
The study reveals that there are 211 vertebrate species that are only found in the Eastern Arc Mountains, of which 203 are found in Tanzania alone.
The results re-enforce the importance of the Eastern Arc Mountains as one of the top sites on earth for biological diversity and uniqueness, said the study.
“The Eastern Arc Mountains were already known for the unusually high density of endemic species, however we lacked comprehensive data from at least six of the 13 mountain blocks,” said Neil Burgess, a leading expert on Africa’s biodiversity and vice-chair of the TFCG.
The Eastern Arc Mountains are an isolated chain of geologically ancient mountains that comprise 13 forest blocks extending in an arc from southern Kenya to south-central Tanzania.