Elephants in Kahuzi Biega National Park- Mammals in the Forest
The elephants are the biggest mammals in the forest of Kahuzi biega national park. The forest elephants is a sub species of distinct from the savannah elephants , it is distinguished from the latter by its reduced height . ( it can attain a height of 2.4m at the shoulder and weighs up to 3000kg) and by its more rounded and smaller ears.
It does not have to move much to find food and water, its diet consists of leaves , twigs and branches , roots , herbaceous materials, barks and fruits chosen from more than 150 plants species.
Certain trees species are visited only when they ripe fruit falls to the ground . The fruits of more than 300 species is eaten exclusively by forest elephants who contribute in this way to their propagation , seeds that go through its digestive system without being damaged are excreted in the faeces and they may germinate . this often happens kilometres away from the parent tree.
Elephants travel routes are often taken by order mammals such as gorillas tracks along the elephant trails. The elephants of the Kahuzi biega national park occupy both the low altitude and mountain forests. Its is always a surprise to discover their more or less straight travel routes on very steep slopes . they travel in the forest either singly or in small groups of less than 10 individuals while they forage they modify the square metres by trampling on it, pulling It down and uprooting it. They are therefore important landscape architects in the forest, they also contribute to the rejuvenation of the natural forest vegetation by creating small clearings and breaking up the soils which helps many plants to germinate.
Watching Large Mammals in Kahuzi Biega National Park
With the exception of the monkeys , it is difficult to observe the large mammals of the forest. They are generally nocturnal and they have become very shy as a consequence of intensive hunting. Only tracks faeces tell of their presence in the forest. More can be learnt from the hunting bag of the indigenous people. It is possible to identify those species killed within a certain geographical area from the remains of the pelage, the skull and the trophies. As it is possible for humans to move in the forest without being noticed , face to face encounters with these animals are almost always fortuitous.
Buffaloes and Antelopes in Kahuzi Biega national park
The forest buffalo also called the Dwarf buffalo occurs only in small groups, in contrast to the savannah buffalo , it has a red to tobacco brown color . its diet consists mainly of herbaceous materials and leaves . it is less varied than the diet of the elephant . its favourite habitats are small clearings and low vegetation.
The biggest antelope is the bongo with a height of 1.3m at the shoulder and weight of 270 kg . it has a hidden and solitary lifestyle . it lives on leaves from trees and bushes and on herbaceous plants of secondary vegetation. Seven species of duiker have been identified in the Kahuzi biega national park. These small antelopes are distributed throughout the forest. They can be encountered singly or in pairs . in addition to leave , they feed on a great deal of fruits , together with the monkeys , the duikers are the most frequently hunted in the forest of Kahuzi biega national park. Their amazingly small tracks make identification difficult.
The Predators in Kahuzi Biega national Park
Numerous carnivorous animals occur in the forest of these , the leopards is without doubt the most impressive . like the golden cat it belongs to the cats family felidate which is not to be confused with the family of viperidae containing the genets, civets and mongoose . Certain species of this family hunt only in trees. it is impossible to spot them except at night with the help of head lamps or powerful touch.