The coastal forests of Eastern Africa are a hotspot for biodiversity. Tanzania’s coastal forests host over 700 endemic and near-endemic species. However, since 1995 there has been an increase in the number of species listed as under threat by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Red List.
The main threats to the species of Tanzania’s coastal forests are habitat loss and degradation of the habitat that remains.
Erythina schliebenii, Coral tree
Eryhtina schliebenii was declared extinct in 1998, having been unknown to science since its collection between 1934-1935. Endemic to Tanzania’s Lindi Region, it is named after the botanist Hans-Joachim Schlieben, who first collected it. The tree was rediscovered in 2011 and is now Critically Endangered. WWF have set up activities to conserve the species, including propagation.
First discovered in 1977 in Kenya, it was believed extinct until its discovery in Tanzania in 1993. The flowers of Karomia gigas have never been seen and their colour and shape remain unknown to science. This tree is Critically Endangered.
Lygodactylus williamsi, Turquoise dwarf gecko
Endemic to Kimboza Forest and Ruvu Forest, Tanzania, this bright blue lizard is 8.5cm long. As a result of habitat loss and the international pet trade, the species is now Critically Endangered. Lygodactylus williamsi lives on the Pandanus rabaiensis tree, which is also threatened.