If you thought zebra duiker and otter shrew were four different animals, think again. These are just two of the elusive creatures that Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and partners were hoping to track down during recent surveys of large and small mammals in one of West Africa’s most important rainforests.
When we talk about African mammals, it tends to conjure up certain images: elephants at a waterhole; lions lounging in the shade of an acacia; vast herds of wildebeest and zebra sweeping across a spectacular savannah backdrop dotted with towering giraffes and the occasional irascible rhino.
It’s easy to forget that the lush primary forests on the other side of the continent harbour some of Africa’s most charismatic and endangered mammal species. Ziama-Wonegizi-Wologizi Transboundary Forest Landscape (ZWW), which straddles the border between Liberia and Guinea, is one such area.
With support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change (WA BiCC) programme, survey teams comprising FFI staff, rangers from Guinea’s Centre Forestier de N’Zérékoré and Liberia’s Forestry Development Authority, external consultants, students and communities on both sides of the border have been conducting a series of rapid assessments of the biodiversity – including mammals large and small – in this relatively unexplored forest.