So is there a cow that is endangered? Yes, there is a member of the cattle, or bovine family that is endangered. As a matter of fact this week’s animal, which is indeed a member of the bovine family, is critically endangered.
Meet, Ader’s Duiker:
Doesn't look like much of a cow does he? Let's find out more.
According to the African Wildlife Foundation, there are twenty-one species of Duiker found in sub-Saharan Africa. Ader’s Duiker happens to be the most rare and most endangered of all Duikers. The IUCN has it listed as critically endangered.
The name Duiker comes to us from the Dutch. It means ‘diver’ and it is descriptive of the Duiker’s habit of plunging into the dense undergrowth to hide. Duikers have short legs and horns on their heads, which help them navigate thick shrubbery on the forest floors where they live. They have reddish pelage (fur) and a white stripe that runs across their belly and over their hindquarters (this can be seen clearly in the above picture). Considered the smallest of all the Duiker species, they are about 12 inches high at the shoulder and weigh about seventeen pounds.
The below picture is that of a Black-Fronted Duiker, which is easily identified by the black stripe that runs from his horns to his nose. It’s a good pic, and shows you the short horns on the head. Interestingly enough, the Duiker looks more like a small deer to me, as opposed to a cow, that is.
The Black-Fronted Duiker
Not a lot is known about Duikers because their population is scattered and they tend to stay out of the spotlight – so to speak. They are very timid and shy, which adds to the problem of gathering information and pictures. There are not many pictures of Ader’s Duiker, and I therefore decided that I would show you some pictures of the other Duiker species. They are very similar in appearance, and as I said above, look a lot like a small deer. So this got me thinking! Are Duikers related to Deer as well as cows? I love this blogging thingy because I am learning along with all you guys. The answer to that question is a resounding, YES! They are all related. So the fact that Duikers look like Deer is no surprise.
The Red Duiker or Natal Duiker (pic credit: krugerpark.co.za)
So as I was researching, I found this really cool picture (see below). This graphic shows you the Bovidae species. You may want to go to this website because all of the species names are live links and you can learn more about each of them. I have posted the link below - it is the Ultimate Ungulate link. Our Duiker is identified on the graphic as a Cephalophinae. Note the rounded back of this species.
Now that we have solved that mystery, and we know that Duikers are related to Deer as well as cows, let’s move on to more facts about Ader’s Duiker. Keep in mind that many of these facts can be applied to other Duikers. They’re all in the same family and therefore have similar characteristics and behaviors.
Oh, and before I forget, this blog post is dedicated to Lauren, who absolutely, loves, loves, cows. She brought this particular animal to my attention so that I would bring it to yours. Thanks, Lauren! J
The one thing that I found interesting about Duikers is that they are not grazers like the Old McDonald’s cows we are so familiar with. And they don’t moo! Instead of grazing, they do a lot of browsing for their meals. They like seeds, fruit, flower buds, and the bark of trees. They will also eat insects, an occasional rodent and carrion (the meat of dead animals). This diet qualifies Duikers as omnivores, which means they will eat just about anything. I read that Duikers will follow flocks of birds and troops of monkeys to clean up the fruit they drop. So they are not only omnivores, they are also opportunists. They are diurnal. I am sure you remember that this means they are awake during the day, and are rarely active at night.
There are approximately 1,400 Ader’s Duikers left in the wild (depending on the website, I found that this number fluctuates). They are only located on the island of Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania and along small areas of the Kenyan coast (ARKive.org). The main threat to this particular species is the usual, habitat destruction. Overhunting is also a problem along with feral (wild) dogs. People hunt them for their meat and skin.
Although laws in both Zanzibar and Kenya protect the Ader’s Duiker, they are not effectively enforced. Nevertheless, conservation and recovery plans have been put into place in both areas. A captive breeding program has been suggested, but it is still in the planning stages.
Although the below video is not of the Ader’s Duiker, it does give you a good idea of a Duiker’s appearance.
For more information visit the following sites:
Thank you for visiting with Duikers and me. We enjoyed having you with us.
My thanks to ARKive.org, and Ultimateungulate.com for some of the pictures and information.
Jeanne E. Rogers, Author
The Sword of Demelza
An Award Winning Adventure Where Endangered Animal Heroes Roam the Pages