Diversity and Distribution of Anomalures and Squirrels in Oban Hills of Nigeria
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School of Ecology and Nature Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
Department of Forestry and Wildlife Management, Federal University Dutse, Jigawa State, Nigeria
Department of Environmental and Social Forestry, Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Nigeria
Department of Wildlife and Ecotourism Management, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
Department of Environmental and Social Forestry, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
School of Soil and Water Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
Online publication date: 2022-03-15
Publication date: 2022-03-15
Corresponding author
James Kehinde Omifolaji   

School of Ecology and Nature Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
Hystrix It. J. Mamm. 2022;33(1):73-79
The Congolian tropical forest represents the epicentre of biodiversity conservation and squirrel diversity in the Western and Central African region of sub-Saharan Africa. The scientific knowledge gap of squirrel species diversity, distribution and ecology of the region is limited. We investigated anomalure and squirrel richness and diversity in different land-use types in the Oban region, Nigeria between January 2010 and April 2013 to update species baseline information on squirrels. In total, we recorded 495 individuals of seven species and six genera representing, Anomaluridae and Sciuridae families, were detected in the Oban Hills Region. The Anomaluridae family accounted for one genus and one species (Anomalurus beecrofti), while the Sciuridae family is represented by the Xerini and Protoxerini tribes in five genera (Funisciurus, Heliosciurus, Xerus, Paraxerus, and Protexerus). Encounter rates with five different species revealed that the Protoxerini tribe (Funisciurus anerythrus and Heliosciurus rufobrachium) were the most frequently detected across all the land-use types in the region. The high diversity of squirrels detected in the region could be a reflection of its recognition as a biodiversity hotspot. Also, closed-canopy cover had the highest diversity index and evenness recorded than farmfallow. Studies on population monitoring, ecology, and conservation help species- and site-specific conservation strategies in the region. We conclude that closed-canopy forest has high conservation value, and that management should be initiated where possible to alleviate threats to its continued functioning and effort must be directed towards ascertaining the ecology and biology of squirrel species for effective conservation strategies.
We thank the management and staff of Nigeria National Park Service headquarters, Cross River National Park, for granting us permission to carry out this study. Also, we appreciate the Conservator Park, Research unit and ranger of Oban sector (CRNP) for provide support and logistics.
Thanks to Volkswagen Foundation and Ideawild for field equipment support.
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