Udzungwa Mountains Forest Antelope Project

Udzungwa Mountains Forest Antelope Project

Abbott's duiker is an Endangered antelope found only in a handful of highland forests in Tanzania. WWCT has been supporting and carrying out research and monitoring projects for this rare species and other antelope in the Udzungwa Mountains since 2005.

Given the difficulty of studying rare and shy species such as duikers, WWCT has focused on improving knowledge of species distribution and habitat requirements through the application of new wildlife surveillance methods such as camera-trapping and non-invasive genetic sampling. This research has led to scientific publications modelling habitat-use for forest antelope using camera-trap data, testing the accuracy of species identity in dung count surveys and developing a DNA-based method for identifying duiker samples from across Africa. New records have confirmed the survival of Abbott’s duiker in heavily-hunted forests in the Udzungwa Mountains including Kising’a-Rugaro and Uzungwa Scarp Forest Reserves. However research has also revealed low genetic diversity for this species relative to other forest antelope.

Operating conservation research projects in remote locations and developing new survey methods would not be possible without collaboration with many partners. WWCT relies on its partners in Tanzania for sample collection and logistical support, including the Udzungwa Elephant Project, Udzungwa Ecological Monitoring Centre, Trento Science Museum and Wildlife Conservation Society. Technical guidance and laboratory facilities for this project have been provided by the universities of Exeter, Stellenbosch and New Orleans.