22 July 2014

Our Gashaka Biodiversity Project is working to save wildlife habitats in Nigeria’s largest National Park: Gashaka Gumti National Park. It is home to a wide variety of habitats, including extensive forests, and is one of West Africa’s last wildernesses. The park is an extremely important biodiversity area, containing large populations of many species lost throughout the rest of the region.

The below video showcases just some of the amazing wildlife that lives within the forest – wildlife the project aims to protect. The footage was captured on camera traps which have been set up in different areas of the National Park to learn more about the habitat and the diverse fauna and flora living within it.

Learn more about the animals our project is working to save. In the above video you can see (in order of appearance)…

Aardvark

Aardvark are found throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.  Their name means “earth pig” in Afrikaans because they use their large powerful claws for digging up ants and termites for dinner and for digging burrows where they rest and give birth.  We have two aardvark at Chester Zoo, Tatsu and Himba, who can be found (probably asleep) near the wild dogs.

Baboon

Olive baboons are large monkeys found right across Africa.  They communicate using a range of vocalisations and facial expressions including grinning, lip smacking, eyebrow waggling, teeth grinding, yawning and sticking their tongue out!

Blue Duiker

Blue duiker are small antelope found in Central and Southern Africa.  Their name comes from the Dutch word for diver due to their habit of diving through bushes to escape predators.  Whilst we don’t have blue duiker at Chester Zoo we do have some red forest duiker in our Secret World of the Okapi exhibit.

Pangolin

Pangolins are the only mammals with a suit of scales made from keratin, the same stuff as your hair and nails!  Their name means “something which rolls up” in Malayan and when they are attacked they do just that to form an armoured ball.  Pangolins use their long claws to climb trees and their long tongues to feed on ants and termites.  Some pangolin tongues can be 40cm long!

Brush-tailed Porcupine

The brush-tailed porcupine is one of Africa’s largest rodents and lives in small family groups in forests across the continent.  When threatened the porcupine will rattle its quills and stamp its feet to scare an attacker off.  Brush-tailed porcupine are heavily hunted for food in many parts of Africa.

Bushbuck

Bushbuck are the most widely distributed African antelope and are found in both forests and savannahs.  Big game hunters consider bushbuck to be the most dangerous antelope because of their habit of hiding in bushes and impaling the hunter with their 50cm horns when he gets close.

Buffalo

Congo buffalo are the smallest subspecies of buffalo found in Africa.  They live in small herds in the forests of West and Central Africa.  Unlike their Savannah cousins, Congo buffalo’s horns point backwards, this stops them getting tangled in trees and bushes as they walk through the forest.  We have a herd of seven buffalo at  Chester Zoo, including some very cute calves!