By Patrick Kisembo
Poaching is threatening the survival of rare monkeys, Sanje Mangabay, a delicacy for thousands of villagers along Udzungwa Scarp Forest Reserve in Kilombero district, Morogoro region, it has been revealed.
The reserve is one of the largest forest patches within the Udzungwa Mountains of South–Central Tanzania covering about 200 square kilometres on the south eastern slopes of the ranges in Kilombero district.
Forest experts working in the scarp said they have noticed the small animals moving from the slopes of Udzungwa range, an indication that they were running away from the marauding villagers.
“We hardly saw any monkeys in Ikule village area where the Udzungwa scarp passes, but there were groups of the animals in Chita villages, some kilometers from the low land. It means poaching is rampant in parts of the forest located along Ikule village area,” said Mokoro Kitenana, Field Technician with Tanzania Forest Conservation Group in collaboration with Udzungwa Ecological Monitoring Centre.
Kitenana said there were animal traps of all kinds in the mountains that targeted animals like duiker, wild pigs and species of monkeys, mostly Sanje Mangabay which is said to be a delicacy for natives living along the Udzungwa scarp.
“We found many traps in Ikule and near Chita National Service along the mountain range,” he noted.
The field technician said some of the meat of the trapped animals is eaten as a side dish and the rest sold to other consumers. Kitenana said most sought after animals are wild pigs, various species of monkeys including the Sanje Mangabay. More....