Albertine Rift

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WCS has been surveying eastern chimpanzee populations in Uganda (Andrew Plumptre), eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (John Hart, Deo Kujirakwinja), Rwanda (Andrew Plumptre and Michel Masozera) and Tanzania (Andrew Plumptre and Tim Davenport). As such we have more information about this species in the Albertine Rift than any other conservation organisation.
 
Chimpanzees are a good indicator of the health of conservation of an area. They are at increased risk of becoming extinct at a site because they live at low densities and have a very slow reproductive rate (one infant born every 5 years on average).

In Uganda WCS worked with the Jane Goodall Institute, Uganda Forest Department and Uganda Wildlife Authority to survey all large forests where chimpanzees occur and to estimate their numbers. Chimpanzees only occur in the west of the country. The results of this survey were published in the Albertine Rift Technical Reports Series (No. 2). A total of 4,950 chimpanzees were estimated for Uganda. This was higher than had been predicted which was encouraging but only four forests had populations greater than 500 individuals, a number that is often thought to be a minimum requirement for a population to be viable in the long term. There is a need to protect contiguous forests and natural habitats with corridors to ensure the long term survival of this species in Uganda. These results led to the development of a national chimpanzee action plan for Uganda. The results also fed into the national Great Apes Action Plan that was developed for the Great Apes Survival Project of the UN. We are now in the process of supporting the creation of forest corridors in the Murchison-Semliki Landscape to conserve this ape and looking at possible incentives such as funding through REDD to encourage farmers to conserve forest on their land. We have also been supporting follow-up monitoring of chimpanzees in Kibale National Park, and Budongo, Bugoma, Kalinzu, Maramagambo and Kasyoha-kitomi Central Forest Reserves.

In Rwanda we have been involved in the census of chimpanzees in Nyungwe National Park and shown there about 300-350 individuals in this forest. Nyungwe is connected to the Kibira National park in Burundi and estimates of chimpanzees from this park are around 400 individuals making a total of 750 individuals in the Congo-Nile Divide. A report summarising this work is available here.

In Tanzania we worked with Jane Goodall Institute, Kyoto University, Tanapa and Frankfurt Zoological Society to undertake a survey of chimpanzees throughout the Greater Mahale Ecosystem and Southern Tanganyika to estimate about 2,700-2900 chimpanzees for Tanzania as a whole when the Gombe population is also included. Of this the Greater Mahale Ecosystem contains about 2,600 chimpanzees.

Chimpanzees are not hunted much for bushmeat in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi or Tanzania unlike much of Africa and this makes these countries one of the easiest places to see chimpanzees as a tourist. Densities here are much higher than in the lowland forests of the Congo basin reaching 2-3 per square kilometer.

In DRC we have made surveys of chimpanzees in the proposed Ngamikka National park in the Marungu-Kabogo Landscape in the Itombwe Massif and Kahuzi Biega National park in the Maiko-Itombwe Landscape and in the Virunga Park in the Greater Virunga Landscape. We are in the process of working to conserve the habitat where they occur at these sites.

Compiling all our survey data and working with many other scientists who study the Eastern Chimpanzee WCS led the development of a conservation action plan for IUCN for this subspecies of chimpanzee.  We have also collaborated on the development of a more detailed regional plan for chimpanzees and Grauer’s gorilla in eastern DRC.

 

Conservation Challenges

Conservation Approach

Goals

Activities

Threats

Accomplishments

The climate in the Albertine Rift is already changing. Records over the last century show that temperature has risen by 2 oC in some sites. This is not solely due to global climate change but is also due to forest and wetland clearance in the region.  WCS has been leading  a process to establish how climate change is likely to cause changes in the Albertine Rift region and how conservation managers and governments need to adapt to these changes. We have established a monitoring program that will monitor changes in climate, changes in vegetation and also movements of certain species in response to global climate change. Climate change mitigation efforts include plans to conserve forest in the region as a store of carbon and we are assessing how REDD+ financing could provide incentives for farmers to maintain natural forest on their lands. We are also assessing possible adaptations that can be implemented in response to climate changes in the region, including planning for conservation under future climate change.

 

Conservation Challenges

Conservation Approach

Goals

Activities

Threats

Climate change wil have the following impacts.......

Accomplishments

This page provides data from analyses made of the biodiversity and impacts of climate change across the Albertine Rift that are made available for downloading and use. Anyone wanting to use the data are advised to contact the named contact person(s) to better understand what the data are and how they were collected. Please include the contact person(s) as an author if using the data for a scientific paper.

Climate Change in the Albertine rift – Contact persons: Sam Ayebare (sayebare@wcs.org), Andy Plumptre (aplumptre@keybiodiversityareas.org)

Available Data For Download

This Section Provides links for data download

 Paper Data Download
 Date
Conservation of the endemic species of the Albertine Rift under future climate change Threshold GeoTiffs.zip (7MB)
 March 16th, 2018

 

 

Conservation Challenges

Conservation Approach

Goals

Activities

Threats

Accomplishments

Conservation is about access to resources and land and inevitably there is some form of conflict over the decisions that are made. Whenever the decision is made to protect land, water and other natural resources, a decision is also being made about who can access those resources, and for what purpose.  This can often lead to competing interests among stakeholders in the same, sometimes dwindling, natural resources, which in certain cases can lead to conflict.  This is particularly evident in developing countries, where dependence on natural resources is high. 

Conservation, as an attempt to sustainably manage natural resources and improve human well-being, inherently attempts to minimize some important causes of conflict.  As such, it can often be seen as a peacebuilding tool.  Despite these intentions, however, managing competing claims to scarce natural resources can also create or exacerbate grievances that can lead to conflicts with, between and within local communities. There are three broad ways in which conservation and the management of natural resources can lead to conflict:

  • Conservation can restrict peoples’ access to key livelihood resources
  • Conservation can introduce new or additional economic burdens or risks on the population, such as crop or livestock loss to park animals
  • Conservation can result in the unequal distribution of benefits

 

Conservation Challenges

Conservation Approach

Conservation managers and scientists should aim to manage and minimize any conflict that could result from their actions. The WCS Albertine Rift Program teamed up with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) to pilot an approach to assessing the potential for conflict in a conservation project and to provide tools that can be used to analyse and minimize the conflicts.  In 2006 IISD developed the Conflict-Sensitive Conservation (CSC) approach, with input from various conservation partners including WCS. The CSC process involves two main components.  The first guides practitioners through a series of steps on how to make their organization’s more conflict-sensitive; in other words, how to ensure that the CSC principles are integrated into an organization’s culture, operational practice, and across the project cycle.

The second component focuses on making specific conservation activities more sensitive to conflict dynamics. It does so through the analysis of conflicts, and uses this analysis to design, implement and monitor CSC solutions to ensure their continued conflict-sensitivity. Conflicts are analyzed and strategies implemented with the involvement of a broad variety of affected stakeholders. The CSC approach has been laid out in a Practitioners’ Manual (english, french -14MB). The main steps for the second component of the CSC process are:

 

i.            Analyze the conflict

a)    Identify conflict(s) affecting the target area through a brainstorming exercise with relevant stakeholders.

b)  Prioritize the identified conflicts based on their human and conservation impacts.

c)   Select the conflict(s) you will focus on, taking into account the feasibility of addressing the conflict(s)  

d)  Analyze the selected conflict(s), using a range of conflict analysis tools (e.g. conflict tree, conflict map, stakeholder profiles) to understand the causes, effects, actors, and dynamics of the conflict(s).  Compare the results of these analyses against a conservation strategy/activity to identify how it contributes to conflict and/or peacebuilding. 

ii.            Design, implement and monitor CSC solution 

a)      Design or modify your activities to make your work conflict-sensitive – i.e. help ensure they don’t contribute to conflict factors, look for opportunities to contribute to peacebuilding – using the results of the conflict analysis.  Conflict resolution/management intervention strategies can be applied differently depending on the stakeholders involved. These include:

                  i.   consultation (where interested stakeholders give their views to facilitators and the latter plan for a wrap-up session with all parties as the final step of consultations),

ii. dialogue where stakeholders are encouraged to have a direct communication on conflicts and decide ways forward,

                 iii.    negotiation which involves interactions between parties,

iv.   mediation where a third party intervenes to facilitate discussions between parties.

              Once the conflict to be addressed has been identified by stakeholders, activities are developed; actors, funding and strategies identified; a detailed strategy document is developed; and then actions implemented on the ground.

b)     Implement CSC activities, maintaining a collaborative, transparent, and flexible approach to the identification of sites and partners, as well as the negotiation of contracts, and procurement of resources

c)      Monitor your work, the conflict and its impact on other sectors assessed to avoid a resurgence of other conflict.

 

WCS piloted this approach at several sites in Virunga Park, Kahuzi Biega Park, Itombwe Massif and in the process of the creation of the Ngamikka National park. In Virunga Park we used the approach to address conflicts over access to fishing resources on Lake Edward and developed fishing committees that brought together the park authority, ICCN, fishermen, the military, police, fisheries management authority (COPEVI) and traditional chiefs (Mwami) who all had a stake in the fisheries which were declining rapidly. The success of this project led to the Governor of North Kivu funding the continuation of the committees after the end of the project.  In Itombwe and Ngamikka we used the approach to be proactive about minimizing conflict during the process of creating the protected areas, or to tackle exiting conflicts over the creation of the protected area in the case of Itombwe.  In Kahuzi Biega Park we tackled conflicts between local communities and ICCN over access to bamboo and other resources in the park. The pilot studies have been written up in a World Bank Case Study of conservation and conflict as an example of good practice and a final report to USAID: Healing the Rift.

Impacts of armed conflict on biodiversity

WCS has also been active in assessing the impacts of armed conflict on biodiversity and conservation in the Albertine Rift Region, particularly following the genocide in Rwanda, Northern Uganda and civil war in areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo. We have used these assessments to open up areas that were thought to be previously inaccessible because of insecurity and have used the results to raise funds for support for the rehabilitation of park infrastructure.

Goals

Activities

Threats

Accomplishments

The Congo-Nile Divide is the area where the sources of the Congo and Nile Rivers both are found within the Nyungwe and Kibira National Parks in Rwanda and Burundi. Streams and rivers flowing west end up in the Congo river while those flowing east end up in the Nile. While this landscape, as defined in the Albertine Rift Strategic Framework Plan, includes some very small forest reserves (Gishwati, Mukura, Bururi, Vyanda, Rumonge) in reality the most important sites are the Nyungwe National park in Rwanda and the Kibira National Park in Burundi. These two parks are contiguous at the international border between the two countries. As a result 100% of the natural habitat in this landscape is protected as national park or reserve and because of the high human population densities around these protected areas. With the intensive agriculture found here there is little likelihood of expanding the natural habitat in the landscape.  Species of conservation concern in the landscape include chimpanzee, mountain monkey, owl-faced monkey, unusual aggregations of Angolan colobus which form groups numbering more than 400 individuals, Rwenzori tauraco, Red-collared Mountain Babbler, Kivu ground thrush, and several endemic plants that have only been found in this landscape.

The total number of mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and plant species recorded from this landscape to date number 1,924, of which 213 species are endemic to the Albertine Rift and 43 species are threatened (CR, EN, VU) under the IUCN Redlist (2010).
 

 Landscape Mammals  Birds Reptiles Amphibians Plants
 Endemic species 19 29  11 12 167
 Threatened species 14  7 0  6  16
 Species number  128  367 43  42  1,344

 

Conservation Challenges

The very high human population densities around the protected areas in this landscape create huge pressures on the landscape. Many of the people live on less than one hectare of land and have 6-8 people per household to feed. Meat is very scarce in people’s diets and consequently there is a strong incentive to look for bushmeat in the forest.  As a result many of the large terrestrial mammals have been reduced to very low numbers and buffalo and elephants have been extirpated completely. However, much of the biodiversity that is important for conservation in this region is still present because hunting of other species for bushmeat is rare in these countries. Access by people to the forest for other forest resources is also high and fires used to obtain honey from natural bee hives often leads to large forest fires. Over 12% of the Nyungwe Forest has burnt in the recent past through bush fires, partly because of a drier climate, possibly a result of climate change, coupled with loss of forest cover in Rwanda outside the park. Demand for land for agriculture is also high in both countries and there is a need to find ways people living near these forests can benefit from them in other ways.

 

Conservation Approach

WCS has been active in Nyungwe since the mid 1980s with an initial survey of the forest and then the establishment of the Projet Conservation de la Foret de Nyungwe (PCFN) which established a conservation program and research station in the forest. PCFN continued its operations despite the genocide in Rwanda, when all other projects pulled out of the forest, and as a result we were well placed to help create the Nyungwe National Park from the forest reserve in the early 2000s. Following the genocide WCS led a biodiversity survey throughout the forest and a socioeconomic survey  of people living in all the parishes bordering the forest (with IGCP and CARE) to help identify key areas for conservation as well as key needs that should be addressed with the local communities. Since these surveys WCS has been involved in  supporting the direct management of the forest by supporting RDB, rehabilitating tourism infrastructure in Nyungwe, building a community conservation program which aims to improve the livelihoods of the local people through bee keeping, community tourism projects, access to buffer zones around the park and environmental education programs, and developing  fire management plan and working with RDB to control fire in the forest.
 
WCS also brought together RDB and INECN, the protected area authorities in Rwanda and Burundi, to develop an MOU for transboundary collaboration and to also develop a ten year strategic plan for the conservation of this landscape. Regular transboundary meetings take place to resolve conflicts over illegal activities taking place at the border as well as to help share capacity and experiences between the two countries.


Research continues in the forest with a focus on monitoring some key species, testing methods of improving the regeneration of the forest, evaluating the impact of Sericostachys scandens, a naturally occurring vine that smothers regeneration in the forest and which flowers every 7-8 years and then dies back, as well as undertaking biodiversity surveys of mammals, birds, plants and reptiles and amphibians.  We have established long-term monitoring sites for amphibians, large mammals, birds as well as plant phenology within the forest to assess changes resulting from climate change. We have also helped RDB develop monitoring plans for all of its three parks in Rwanda and established MIST in all the parks.

In Kibira National Park we have been helping INECN rehabilitate its infrastructure following the civil war in Burundi. We also undertook a survey of the Park to assess the impact of the war on the forest. This showed that chimpanzees had fared ok throughout the war and still numbered about 400 individuals, about the same as had been estimated in the late 1980s. Together with the Nyungwe Park chimpanzees number about 750-800 individuals, and this is one species that requires transboundary management to maintain a viable population.

 

Goals

Activities

Threats

Accomplishments

Given the high human population density and the demand for agricultural land in the Albertine Rift, natural habitat, particularly tropical forest, is becoming fragmented and isolated. The identification of six core landscapes in the strategic framework plan for the Albertine Rift aimed to make people in the development and conservation community think at a landscape rather than site scale. Fragmentation is probably greatest in the Murchison-Semliki Landscape in western Uganda where riverine and gallery forest has been converted to agriculture at a very fast pace over the past 15 years since 1996 with over 450 km2 of forest being lost during this period.  Part of the causes of this forest conversion is due to large increases in numbers of people due to in-migration and settlement of refugees from DRC, and part is due to the increased promotion of farming of cash crops such as tobacco, sugar, tea and cocoa in the region.

Conservation Approach

Murchison-Semiliki Landscape

WCS has been working with other partners to assess the existing connectivity in the Murchison-Semliki Landscape and to establish conservation programs to conserve the critical corridor forests. WCS led the process of corridor identification using the following process:

1.      Identifying a suite of species that require corridors linking the main blocks of forest in the landscape in order to maintain viable populations. These species included chimpanzees, goldencats and jackals, forest raptors, and understorey birds such as Pittas for forested corridors and lion, buffalo and martial eagle for savanna corridors.

2.    Model least cost paths for each of the species given estimates of amounts of natural habitat needed to disperse and estimates of the width of gaps they would cross if natural habitat was not present.

3.     Combine the corridors identified for each of the species groups to identify the suite of corridors that need to be conserved.

This analysis identified 27 corridor forests in this landscape. We have since been looking at ways of financing the conservation of these corridor forests, particularly using REDD+ financing as well as working with the private sector such as banks which have tree planting projects as well as companies interested in helping establish shade crops of cocoa or coffee around the corridor forests to act as a buffer. Shade crops could potentially receive a premium price if the conservation aspects of the farming could be marketed.

Other Landscapes

WCS has also been assessing the importance of corridors in the Greater Virunga Landscape and has developed a conservation plan for the corridors around the Queen Elizabeth National Park.  This identified critical sites which need to be conserved and in particular sites where land could be purchased to strengthen existing but very narrow corridors. The corridors linking Kyambura Wildlife Reserve to Kasyoha-Kitomi Forest Reserve and the narrow corridor linking the Kasenyi sector of Queen Elizabeth Park to the north on the western side of lake George are two critical corridors that need support. Similarly the corridor linking Queen Elizabeth Park to Virunga Park north of Lake Edward is crucial for landscape species such as elephants and lion and will be needed if the numbers in north Virunga Park are to rebuild once the park is stabilized. Much of the transboundary conservation we support aims to conserve linkages between protected areas in this landscape, some through narrow corridors.

In the Maiko-Itombwe Landscape WCS has been promoting connectivity in a zoning process of the Itombwe Reserve, ensuring that landscape species are well represented and have corridors to move between core protected areas in the reserve. We have also been involved in identifying key populations of Grauer’s gorillas in the landscape and the connectivity that would be required to ensure these populations remain linked.

In the design of the Ngamikka National park in the Marungu-Kabogo Landscape we have been ensuring that the proposed park connected to the Luama Hunting Reserve through several corridors and that the park conserves forest down to the lake shore on Tanganyika as well as conserve parts of the lake.

 

 

 

Conservation Challenges

Conservation Approach

Goals

Activities

Threats

Accomplishments

Dragonflies

A list of endemic dragonflies for the Albertine Rift has been created by  Klaas-Douwe B. Dijkstra (Gortestraat 11, 2311 MS Leiden, The Netherland) – his summary is given here:

 

Thirteen species are endemic to the Albertine Rift (AR). A number of species has been recorded further east into Uganda (→EU), sometimes as far as Kakamega or Mt Elgon in western Kenya (→WK), or in adjacent northeastern or southeastern DRC (→ND/SD). These fourteen species are listed as near endemics (NE). Those that have been found in adjacent areas on both sides of the AR are not included, although their headquarters lie in the region (40 species altogether, including the (near) endemics). For reference, Uganda has about 230 species in total. Four AR/NE species are undescribed; one was only described in 2004. Many of the species are only known from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP). Because only Uganda has been fairly well studied, this suggests that known species will be found in more AR forests and also that new ones will be discovered. The IUCN classifications are preliminary and may change slightly in the forthcoming Red List.

 

Family

Species

IUCN

AR

Range in AR and beyond

Chlorocyphidae

Chlorocypha hasta Pinhey, 1960

DD

AR

Mahale

 

Chlorocyphidae

Chlorocypha jacksoni Pinhey, 1952

VU

AR

BINP, eastern DRC

 

Chlorocyphidae

Chlorocypha molindica Fraser, 1948

EN

AR

BINP, Kalinzu, Ituri

 

Chlorocyphidae

Chlorocypha schmidti Pinhey, 1967

EN

AR

eastern DRC

 

Chlorocyphidae

Chlorocypha tenuis Longfield, 1936

 

NE

widespread

→WK

Chlorocyphidae

Platycypha pinheyi Fraser, 1950

CR

AR

around northern end Lake Tanganyika

 

Platycnemididae

Chlorocnemis superba Schmidt, 1951

 

NE

widespread

→EU

Coenagrionidae

Africallagma pseudelongatum (Longfield, 1936)

 

NE

widespread

→WK

Coenagrionidae

Agriocnemis palaeforma Pinhey, 1959

NT

NE

BINP

→EU

Coenagrionidae

Pseudagrion rufocinctum Pinhey, 1956

VU

NE

BINP, Ituri, Irangi

→EU

Gomphidae

Neurogomphus wittei Schouteden, 1934

 

AR

Lake Tanganyika

 

Gomphidae

Notogomphus flavifrons Fraser, 1952

 

AR

BINP

 

Gomphidae

Notogomphus lujai (Schouteden, 1934)

 

NE

widespread

→WK

Gomphidae

Notogomphus sp. n. near leroyi (Schouteden, 1934)

DD

AR

BINP

 

Gomphidae

Onychogomphus bwambae Pinhey, 1961

DD

AR

Semliki Valley

 

Gomphidae

Onychogomphus styx Pinhey, 1961

 

NE

widespread

→WK

Gomphidae

Paragomphus lacustris (Karsch, 1890)

DD

NE

Lake Tanganyika

→ND/SD

Gomphidae

Paragomphus viridior Pinhey, 1961

 

NE

widespread

→WK

Corduliidae

Idomacromia jillianae Dijkstra & Kisakye, 2004

VU

AR

BINP

 

Libellulidae

Atoconeura eudoxia (Kirby, 1909)

 

NE

widespread

→WK

Libellulidae

Atoconeura pseudeudoxia Longfield, 1953

 

NE

widespread

→SD

Libellulidae

Neodythemis sp. n. 1 near gorillae Pinhey, 1961

DD

AR

BINP

 

Libellulidae

Neodythemis sp. n. 2 near gorillae Pinhey, 1961

 

AR

Nyungwe

 

Libellulidae

Tetrathemis corduliformis Longfield, 1936

 

NE

Budongo, Rutshuru

→WK

Libellulidae

Tetrathemis denticauda Fraser, 1954

EN

NE

“Fort Portal”

→ND

Libellulidae

Tetrathemis ruwensoriensis Fraser, 1941

CR

AR

Ruwenzori

 

Libellulidae

Trithemis sp. n. near basitincta Ris, 1912

NT

NE

Mahale, Budongo

→EU

 


Conservation Challenges

Conservation Approach

Goals

Activities

Threats

Accomplishments

Dragonflies

A list of endemic dragonflies for the Albertine Rift has been created by  Klaas-Douwe B. Dijkstra (Gortestraat 11, 2311 MS Leiden, The Netherland) – his summary is given here:

 

Thirteen species are endemic to the Albertine Rift (AR). A number of species has been recorded further east into Uganda (→EU), sometimes as far as Kakamega or Mt Elgon in western Kenya (→WK), or in adjacent northeastern or southeastern DRC (→ND/SD). These fourteen species are listed as near endemics (NE). Those that have been found in adjacent areas on both sides of the AR are not included, although their headquarters lie in the region (40 species altogether, including the (near) endemics). For reference, Uganda has about 230 species in total. Four AR/NE species are undescribed; one was only described in 2004. Many of the species are only known from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP). Because only Uganda has been fairly well studied, this suggests that known species will be found in more AR forests and also that new ones will be discovered. The IUCN classifications are preliminary and may change slightly in the forthcoming Red List.



Conservation Challenges

Conservation Approach

Goals

Family

Species

IUCN

AR

Range in AR and beyond

Chlorocyphidae

Chlorocypha hasta Pinhey, 1960

DD

AR

Mahale

 

Chlorocyphidae

Chlorocypha jacksoni Pinhey, 1952

VU

AR

BINP, eastern DRC

 

Chlorocyphidae

Chlorocypha molindica Fraser, 1948

EN

AR

BINP, Kalinzu, Ituri

 

Chlorocyphidae

Chlorocypha schmidti Pinhey, 1967

EN

AR

eastern DRC

 

Chlorocyphidae

Chlorocypha tenuis Longfield, 1936

 

NE

widespread

→WK

Chlorocyphidae

Platycypha pinheyi Fraser, 1950

CR

AR

around northern end Lake Tanganyika

 

Platycnemididae

Chlorocnemis superba Schmidt, 1951

 

NE

widespread

→EU

Coenagrionidae

Africallagma pseudelongatum (Longfield, 1936)

 

NE

widespread

→WK

Coenagrionidae

Agriocnemis palaeforma Pinhey, 1959

NT

NE

BINP

→EU

Coenagrionidae

Pseudagrion rufocinctum Pinhey, 1956

VU

NE

BINP, Ituri, Irangi

→EU

Gomphidae

Neurogomphus wittei Schouteden, 1934

 

AR

Lake Tanganyika

 

Gomphidae

Notogomphus flavifrons Fraser, 1952

 

AR

BINP

 

Gomphidae

Notogomphus lujai (Schouteden, 1934)

 

NE

widespread

→WK

Gomphidae

Notogomphus sp. n. near leroyi (Schouteden, 1934)

DD

AR

BINP

 

Gomphidae

Onychogomphus bwambae Pinhey, 1961

DD

AR

Semliki Valley

 

Gomphidae

Onychogomphus styx Pinhey, 1961

 

NE

widespread

→WK

Gomphidae

Paragomphus lacustris (Karsch, 1890)

DD

NE

Lake Tanganyika

→ND/SD

Gomphidae

Paragomphus viridior Pinhey, 1961

 

NE

widespread

→WK

Corduliidae

Idomacromia jillianae Dijkstra & Kisakye, 2004

VU

AR

BINP

 

Libellulidae

Atoconeura eudoxia (Kirby, 1909)

 

NE

widespread

→WK

Libellulidae

Atoconeura pseudeudoxia Longfield, 1953

 

NE

widespread

→SD

Libellulidae

Neodythemis sp. n. 1 near gorillae Pinhey, 1961

DD

AR

BINP

 

Libellulidae

Neodythemis sp. n. 2 near gorillae Pinhey, 1961

 

AR

Nyungwe

 

Libellulidae

Tetrathemis corduliformis Longfield, 1936

 

NE

Budongo, Rutshuru

→WK

Libellulidae

Tetrathemis denticauda Fraser, 1954

EN

NE

“Fort Portal”

→ND

Libellulidae

Tetrathemis ruwensoriensis Fraser, 1941

CR

AR

Ruwenzori

 

Libellulidae

Trithemis sp. n. near basitincta Ris, 1912

NT

NE

Mahale, Budongo

→EU

Activities

Threats

Accomplishments

WCS has been supporting the training of Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) staff to undertake ground surveys of elephants and other large mammals in forests in Uganda as well as aerial surveys of savannas. We have supported the development of an aerial survey training manual (see publications) to improve surveys by UWA and ICCN in DRC.
 
In 2006 we radio-collared eight elephants in the Greater Virunga Landscape to assess their movements between the various protected areas in the landscape, particularly between Queen Elizabeth Park and Virunga Park. The results showed that the elephants knew where the international boundary was and spent most of their time in Uganda, only venturing for short distances over the border into Virunga Park where armed groups regularly shoot elephants for meat and ivory. Aerial surveys of the elephants in the savannas of the Greater Virunga Landscape show that most of the population (about 2500-3000 animals) resides in Uganda with only about 300-400 in Virunga Park. Elephant numbers declined from about 3000 in Queen Elizabeth Park in the 1960s to 150 in 1980 and have since increased back to 2500-3000. This could not have occurred by birth alone and is mostly due to transboundary movements of elephants between Virunga Park and Queen Elizabeth Park. In the 1970s it is likely elephants fled to DRC and more recently they have fled to Uganda. As a result numbers have remained more stable than in areas which were totally enclosed within Uganda such as Murchison Falls National park, where elephant numbers dropped from 14,000 to only 250 individuals during the 1970s and early 1980s.
 
The large changes in elephant numbers has led to changes in the vegetation of the savannas in the Greater Virunga Landscape. Because vegetation takes time to grow back after elephants have been at high density there is a lag time in the response to changes in elephant numbers. WCS made a study to compare species of plant in Queen Elizabeth Park that were measured in plots established in 1990 and subsequently re-measured in 2010. These showed that in areas where elephant density was high acacia gerradii increased in cover but that most other plant species did not show any relationship with elephants. This implies that elephants are fairly unselective in their impacts and while removing woody cover for the most part when at high density they don’t affect understorey plants in any consistent way. However hippos had a much greater impact on the vegetation around water bodies and specific plant species are affected by them. We have also compared aerial photos from the 1950s and 2006 and shown that the reduction of elephants has led to a general increase in woody cover in the park, but they don't seem to determine which species come back.
 
We are supporting coordinated patrols along the international border as well as antipoaching efforts within Virunga Park to reduce the killing of this species. We also are continuing to support monitoring of elephants in the Greater Virunga Landscape.

 

Conservation Challenges

Conservation Approach

Goals

Activities

Threats

Accomplishments

An ‘Endemic Species’ is one that is only found in that region and nowhere else in the world. As such they are of conservation concern because they are not widespread and may be confined to only one or two protected areas. The Albertine Rift has more endemic species of vertebrate than any other region of mainland Africa. Until 2003 complete lists of endemic species had not been completed and WCS worked with other scientists and conservation organizations to complete these lists. Since that time they have been updated over time as more species have been added to the endemic or threatened lists. These are presented here for each taxon (Mammals, Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians, Butterflies and Dragonflies) for which we have compiled data.

Mammals

41 species of endemic mammal are found in the Rift. Many of these are small mammals such as shrews, rats and bats. A few of the larger ones include the Rwenzori duiker (Cephalophus rubidus) which only occurs at high altitudes in the Rwenzori massif and the Golden monkey (Cercopithecus kandti) which is confined to the Virunga Volcanoes. A few larger mammals are near-endemic species, such as L’hoest’s guenon (Cercopithecus l’hoesti). A list of the endemic and near endemic mammals is provided in the table below. The IUCN classification is given (CR=Critically endangered; EN=endangered; VU=vulnerable; DD=data deficient; NT=near threatened). AR=Albertine Rift endemic; NE=near-endemic species. A list of endemic species can be downloaded here.

Birds

A total of 42 species of bird are endemic to the Albertine Rift. This list combines two of Birdlife International’s endemic bird areas (Albertine Rift and Eastern Zairean Lowlands) because there is overlap in the distribution of some of these species.  The newly described Willard’s Sooty Boubou has been added here because the only known specimens are from the Albertine Rift but more research is needed on this species. A list of endemic species can be downloaded here.

Reptiles

Nineteen reptile species have been classified as endemic to the Albertine Rift with a further three near-endemic. Seven of these are Chamaeleons and six Skinks. Few snakes are endemic to this region. A list of endemic species can be downloaded here.

Amphibians

At least 38 amphibians are endemic to the Albertine Rift. Many of these species have some form of IUCN classification as they are considered threatened or little is known about their distribution. A list of endemic species can be downloaded here.

Butterflies

A total of 117 endemic butterfly species have been identified and published as a butterfly checklist by Dr Tim Davenport, WCS Country Director for Tanzania. This list is the first to attempt to define endemic butterflies in the Albertine Rift.

Dragonflies

A list of endemic dragonflies for the Albertine Rift has been created by  Klaas-Douwe B. Dijkstra (Gortestraat 11, 2311 MS Leiden, The Netherland) – his summary is given here:

 

Thirteen species are endemic to the Albertine Rift (AR). A number of species has been recorded further east into Uganda (→EU), sometimes as far as Kakamega or Mt Elgon in western Kenya (→WK), or in adjacent northeastern or southeastern DRC (→ND/SD). These fourteen species are listed as near endemics (NE). Those that have been found in adjacent areas on both sides of the AR are not included, although their headquarters lie in the region (40 species altogether, including the (near) endemics). For reference, Uganda has about 230 species in total. Four AR/NE species are undescribed; one was only described in 2004. Many of the species are only known from Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP). Because only Uganda has been fairly well studied, this suggests that known species will be found in more AR forests and also that new ones will be discovered. The IUCN classifications are preliminary and may change slightly in the forthcoming Red List. A list of endemic species can be downloaded here.

Conservation Challenges


Conservation Approach


Goals

aq

Activities


Threats

Accomplishments


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