02-11-2022 di redazione
Though very difficult to spot, another wild animal is to be counted among the roster of those that can be found in Kenya and much closer than you might think from the coastal tourist resorts. Just delve into the Arabuko-Sokoke forest, between Gede and Midas north of Watamu and no more than 20 kilometers from Malindi, and if you are lucky you will green one. We are talking about the aardvark (Aardvark in English, Mhanga in Kiswahili), the only mammal species of the order Tubulidentates.
It is most common to find this animal in the extremities of sub-Saharan Africa, namely in South Africa (from where it derives its name, which means "ground hog" in Afrikaans) and Ethiopia and South Sudan.
It is, however, one of the continent's most original and least known mammals: up to two meters long, it can weigh as much as 100 kilograms, has hind legs that are longer than its front legs, and a tapered tail at least half a meter long. It feeds mainly on termites, which it hunts with its strong claws, easily breaking the walls of termite mounds and sticking its head into cavities thanks to its elongated snout and rabbit-like ears. A curiosity: it is also fond of the mushrooms that grow in the moisture inside termite mounds!
Aardvarks are nocturnal animals, hunting at night and resting in the shade of plants or in tall grass during the day.
The Friends of the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest recently photographed a specimen with one of thirty cameras hidden among the forest crevices, a sign that there are still some to be found in the ecosystem of one of Kenya's longest-lived rainforests.
Arabuko-Sokoke, which is also home to families of elephants, baboons and dozens of types of birds, can be visited daily, including being escorted by one of the Kenya Forest Service's guides.
Together with the KDF, the Friends of Arabuko-Sokoke Forest work to protect the ecosystem, against the felling of plants to make charcoal and the poaching of protected species.
In September alone, thanks to their operations, four people were arrested, 340 traps removed, caches of wood and quintals of charcoal discovered, and materials for illegal activities confiscated.
For any other information: https://friendsarabukosokoke.org/
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