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New EDGE Focal Species: A closer look

By on February 11, 2011 in Mammals, Uncategorized

This is the second guest blog from George Tyson, a graduate journalist with a keen interest in conservation.

Rondo Dwarf Galago – Galagoides rondoensis

This tiny primate’s existence has only been known of since 1996. In the time since its discovery, it has been classified as the smallest of the galago (bushbaby) species, and moved from a status of endangered to critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. The lack of any known conservation efforts, coupled with its evolutionarily distinctive features and threatened habitat, has earned the Rondo dwarf galago a spot amongst EDGE’s Focal Species.

rondo dwarf galgo

While the Rondo dwarf galago has relatives in the Galagidae family, its size, reproductive anatomy, distinctive vocalizations and bottle-brush tail are genetically unique; expressed nowhere else amongst other galagos.

Endemic only to small, scattered patches of dry coastal forest in eastern Africa, the Rondo dwarf galago is in dire need of conservation attention. The fragmented and relatively small occurrences of Rondo dwarf galago populations have been grouped into two subpopulations separated by roughly 400km. One in southwest Tanzania close to the coastal towns of Lindi and Mtwara and the other 400km north in forest area around Dar es Salaam. The total area inhabited by the Rondo dwarf galago is thought to be less than 100 square kilometers.

Unsurprisingly, it is the loss of this area that poses the biggest threat to the Rondo dwarf galago. Although some small patches of forest that the endangered galago species is found in fall within game reserve and national park boundaries, protection is nominal at best. All sites in which it resides are subject to varying degrees of agricultural encroachment, logging and charcoal manufacture. If the current trends of charcoal production in nearby Dar es Salaam continue throughout the area, key patches of forest that the galago inhabits will be gone within the next 10-15 years.

The Rondo dwarf galago is listed as a Top 25 Most Endangered Primate. If no effort is made to protect its threatened habitat, this species will disappear. With raising its profile here on EDGE, it is hoped that research will be pursued to determine accurate population sizes, and whether the threat to this bushbaby is as great as initial predictions suggest.

If you like to help the conservation of EDGE species such as the Rondo dwarf galago you can support EDGE here.