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Atherurus africanus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA RODENTIA HYSTRICIDAE

Scientific Name: Atherurus africanus
Species Authority: Gray, 1842
Common Name(s):
English African Brush-tailed Porcupine

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Hoffmann, M. & Cox, N.
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Cox, N. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category. The species' prevalence in wild meat markets is cause for concern, and requires careful monitoring.
History:
2004 Least Concern

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is distributed from Guinea, Sierra Leone and The Gambia in West Africa eastwards in forested regions to Kenya. It has been recorded from sea level to the Cameroon Highlands. The species is also found on Bioko Island. A record from east of Lake Tanganyika (Kingdon 1974) is not shown in Swynnerton and Hayman (1951) or Kingdon 1997. It has been recorded up to 3,000 m asl.
Countries:
Native:
Benin; Cameroon; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Equatorial Guinea; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Kenya; Liberia; Sierra Leone; South Sudan; Togo; Uganda
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is not uncommon, but it is nocturnal and is rarely seen.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is found in rainforest and in forest along the edge waterways. It lives in holes in the roots of large trees, hollow logs, fallen branches, rock crevices, termite mounds and other similar places. It does not dig its own burrows. The species is a nocturnal, and solitary forager, although it dens communally in parties of two to six (sometimes more) animals.
It has a gestation length of 100 to 110 days, with a single young born (though Haltenorth and Diller [1980] mention up to four), in two to three litters per year. This species has a longevity of 15 years.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): As with other African porcupines, this species can cause damage to crops and agricultural fields, favouring a number of cultivated roots and fruits, such as cassava, sweet potatoes, bananas and other fruits. It is subject to extensive exploitation for human consumption in much of its range (being a ground-dwelling, large-sized rodent, capable of producing up to 2 kg of meat), and in Gabon, Nigeria, Cameroon and Congo this is a favoured species in wild meat markets. (Jori et al. 1998). In Equatorial Guinea, a survey showed that the wild meat trade relied heavily on the Brush-tailed Porcupine and the Blue Duiker (Cephalophus monticola), with these two species accounting for more than one half of all carcasses brought to markets (Fa et al. 1995). Jori et al. (1998) report that the meat of this species is also often the most expensive meat in many African cities

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is known to occur in several protected areas, including Comoe National Park in Côte d'Ivoire and National Park of Upper Niger in Guinea. There has been extensive research into harvest levels (see Jori et al. 1998), as well as an investigation into the feasibility of farming these animals in Gabon (Jori et al. 1998). However, the low reproductive rates in captivity pose a problem.

Citation: Hoffmann, M. & Cox, N. 2008. Atherurus africanus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 26 October 2014.
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