An international team of scientists who trekked through Tanzania with tripwire cameras and audio recorders brought back with them surveys of more than 160 animal species, including a new species of frog and the sights and sound of a small primate whose cries can sound like those of a human baby.
The field surveys, the first in Tanzania's Rubeho Mountains, were reported in this month's issue of the African Journal of Ecology.
Dr. Neil Burgess, a study co-author and a scientist with the World Wildlife Fund, said the findings show the importance of protecting the area from poaching and clearcutting of forests for farms and timber.
"The wealth of life that's supported by the Rubehos is typical of Tanzania's Eastern Arc Mountain range," he said in a statement. "We've documented some destruction already underway so protecting this mountain range is an urgent priority not just for its unique wildlife, but also for the people and economy of Tanzania. The Eastern Arc catches and gathers water for Tanzanians -- generating about 50 percent of the nation's total electricity through its hydropower."
The cameras, left in areas where wildlife would trip a wire to click a shutter, captured primates like a Mountain dwarf galago and a small, nocturnal antelope known as a red duiker.
Researchers also recorded the calls of two species of galagos, which are small, nocturnal primates with large eyes. They are more commonly known as bush babies and their cries can sound similar to those of human babies.
In one valley, Nike Doggart of the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group discovered a new species of frog.
"Surveying just one section of the Eastern Arc, we discovered a little frog no one knew existed," said Doggart, lead author of the study.
The researchers also observed clearcutting of forests even though they are within government reserves. One reserve alone lost about 49 acres of forest to bean and tobacco farms, they said.
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