2115168574 235742f2bb z Flora and fauna in Kilimanjaro

Summer is going by very fast and we are thinking about our exploration trip to Tanzania with ascent to Kilimanjaro.

There are less than two months left for the expedition to leave, so let’s get to know the destination a bit better. Today it is flora and fauna´s turn, one of the aspects that will surround us all the times and that normally thrill our fellow travelers.

However, as the ascent has different stages and heights, we will see how the fauna and flora of Kilimanjaro change at its different stages.

Plains

The plains or lowlands, roughly associated with the plains surrounding the Kilimanjaro, are situated between 800 and 1,600 meters of altitude. The weather is very warm and dry. It is an open environment where the fire, often triggered and controlled by the Masai shepherds, plays a main role. The vegetation consists mainly of savannas that have numerous species of herbaceous, flowering plants, baobabs, shrubs and thorny plants that are below 1,400 meters of altitude to the west and 1,000 meters of altitude to the east.

Tropical forest

The tropical forest is located approximately between 1,600 and 2,700 meters of altitude. The forest is home to different species of primates, such as the the blue monkey or diademed monkey , the Angolan and Abyssinian colobos as well as the olive tree.

Among the other mammals, the leopard, striped mongoose, serval, red river hog, crested porcupine are difficult to observe although they often venture into the savannah.

Alpine area

It is between 2,800 and 4,000 meters above sea level and receives between 500 and 1,300 mm of precipitation per year. It presents / displays a vegetation consisting of heathers, where the tree-like form of the white heather is the most characteristic, next to Erica Excelsa. In some more protected areas, new natural species such as Patula Pine manage to develop, which weakens the balance of the environment (reduced biodiversity, impoverished soils), aggravated by its flammability. The willingness of park authorities to fight fires in contravention of pastoralists and beekeepers has a perverse effect: the environment between the upper boundary of the forest and the heathlands is not managed in a harmonious way. Although the fires are necessary for some species survival, these are not well controlled by authorities, risking this outstanding environment. Thus, between 1976 and 2005, the forest area of ??tree-like Erica went from 187 to 32 km², which is equivalent to a 15% decrease in the total vegetation cover of the mountain.

Afroalpine zone

Its lower and upper limits are not clearly defined, but are generally between 4,000 and 5,000 meters. It is characterized by a dry climate, with an average of 200 mm of annual rainfall and with significant differences in temperature. The plant species that live in this area are perfectly adapted to the rigors of the climate and some are endemic.

Only a few species of birds of prey are able to reach this altitude: the  jackal buzzard, the steppe eagle, the black-winged kite, the bearded vulture and the crowned eagle.

Snowy area

Above 5,000 meters there is practically no life. The few precipitations that fall are filtered almost immediately on the ground or accumulated in the glaciers. Some lichens grow very slowly. The only animal discovered until today in Kibo is a kind of spider.

 

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