01 August 2014

We’ve got another video to share with you from our Gashaka Biodiversity Project in Nigeria. The the video below shows just a handful of the amazing wildlife that lives within Nigeria’s largest National Park: Gashaka Gumti.

The project is working hard to save the wide variety of habitats and the large populations of many species lost throughout the rest of the region.

Can you identify all of the animals on the video? Discover more about them below (in order of appearance on the video)…

Genet

Genets are highly agile nocturnal predators found in forests and savannahs across Africa.  Whilst they look like cats genets are actually more closely related to mongooses.  Genets are highly adaptable and often take up residence in tourist lodges where they can take advantage of easily available food and some people even keep genets as pets.

Melanistic golden cat

There are usually no prizes for guessing what colour golden cats are.  But in Nigeria our camera traps captured a video of this rare melanistic golden cat.  Melanistic animals have an abundance of melanin, the same pigment that makes human skin darker when we get a sun tan.  Melanism is found in many animals but is probably best known in jaguars and leopards, which are called black panthers.  In The Jungle Book Bagheera is a melanistic leopard.

Putty nosed monkey

These are some of the smallest monkeys in Africa and often hang out with other species for protection against predators.  Like some other species of monkey they have a complex system of calls with different “words” for each predator.  The word for leopard is described as “pyow” whilst the word for eagle is described as “hack”.

Monitor lizard

There are over 73 species of monitor lizard found across the world.  The Komodo dragon is the largest species of monitor alive today and can grow to 3m long, but in Australia the bones of a monitor lizard which could grow to be 7m long have been discovered.

Red flanked duiker

The red flanked duiker is one of the smallest species of antelope and is found across sub-Saharan Africa.  They are heavily hunted for food and large numbers can be found in markets where they are sold as bushmeat.

Red river hog

Red river hogs are highly secretive wild pigs that live in forests, usually near rivers, lakes or swamps.  They hide during the day and emerge at night to feed.  They can live in groups of up to 60 animals, usually females and young led by a dominant boar.   We have 3 red river hogs at Chester Zoo who live near the entrance to our Tropical House.