The Tanzania Times
Eastern Africa News Network

How Many Leopards are In Tanzania? Special Census for the big spotted cats commences

Tanzania is in the process of conducting special wildlife census to determine the number of Leopards and Cheetahs in the country.

According to the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, the special count, is being carried out in Nyerere and Ruaha National Parks and to be completed in the course of 2024.

Nyerere is the country’s biggest National Park, while Ruaha is the second in terms of size and both are mapped within the Southern Tourism Circuit.

The Director of Research at the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, Dr Julius Keyyu revealed that the leopard, together with its spotted cousin the cheetah, is among the four species of wildlife described to be highly endangered in the world today.

The Leopard happens to be one of the ‘Big Five,’ species of wildlife and among the trademarks of Tanzania’s tourism industry.

Dr Keyyu pointed out that over 75 percent of all foreign visitors who visit National Parks, want to see the leopard, making the species to be extremely important to the country’s tourism sector.

How many Cheetahs are in Tanzania?

“Tanzania has the slight advantage because the country hosts over 10 percent of the global conducive habitat for the leopard,” explained the researcher.

But just as the animal is being declared endangered elsewhere in the world, somehow Tanzania still boast a considerable population of them.

“The other globally endangered species are the Chimpanzees and Wild dogs,” explained Dr Keyyu.

He pointed out that, while these other types of wildlife are about to be become extinct globally, Tanzania continues to conserve a number of them.

Chimps and Foxes

“We have 184 wild dogs in the Serengeti eco-system, but a number of such canines can also be found in Ruaha and Mkomazi National Parks,” he said.

As for the Chimpanzees, Tanzania has two dedicated and thickly forested National Parks, the Gombe and Mahale for the large primate species in the Western Peninsular, along the Lake Tanganyika shores.

In the latest Census, Tanzania was found to have more than 2600 chimpanzees.

There are 700 Chimps in Mahale and 90 similar primates in Gombe, with the remaining ones roaming in open areas, especially around the wild precincts of Mpanda and Tanganyika Districts.

The Director General of Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI), Dr Eblate Ernest Mjingo listed some of the cause some wildlife species to disappear include loss of habitat due to encroachment of human activities, such as farming, settlement and investments.

Another major reason, according to Dr Mjingo, could be the recent phenomenon involving the sprouting of the invasive alien vegetation species, that suffocate and kill natural plants on grazing grounds.

 “The other causes could be human-wildlife conflicts, blocked corridors passages, poaching, diseases and ecological challenges resulting from effects of climate change,” explained Dr Mjingo.

The TAWIRI Director General said the institute continues to research on solutions, including taking steps to conserver their habitats, protecting the biodiversity and finding solutions to emerging diseases.

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