East African Subregion
East African Subregion
a subregion of the Ethiopian zoogeographical region. It occupies most of the territory of the Ethiopian region, except for the humid tropical forests in the Niger and Congo basins (West African subregion) and southern Africa (South African subregion). The characteristic landscape of this subregion is savanna, interspersed with deserts and mountains (Ethiopia, mountain massifs of East Africa). A wide variety of ungulates, mostly endemic, are typical of the East African subregion’s fauna. They include several species of perissodactyls (two species of rhinoceros—black and white—and three species of zebra) and numerous artiodactyls, among them warthogs, hippopotamuses, and many species of the family Bovidae (oxen). Particularly typical of the subregion are buffalo and various antelopes: gazelle antelopes (Grant’s gazelle, Thomson’s gazelle, springbok, gerenuk, and other gazelles), common elands, roan antelopes, common waterbucks, gnus, kudus, oryxes, pygmy antelopes, and mountain goats (Oreotragus oreotragus). The giraffe, African elephant, and aardvark are widely distributed. Predators include lions, leopards (panthers), cheetahs, African hunting dogs, fennecs, jackals, four species of the family Hyaenidae (aardwolf and three species of hyena proper), several species of civet, and ratels. There are many species of rodents; these include jumping hares, porcupines, various species of gerbil, and mice. There are several species of monkeys—guenons and baboons—but no anthropoid apes. Lemurs are represented by the galago and potto. Among the insectivores, shrews, elephant shrews, golden moles, otter shrews, and hedgehogs abound. Characteristic of the bird population are ostriches, several species of bustard and sandgrouse, guinea fowls, secretary birds (of predatory types), herons, flamingos, and various species of weaverbird. Reptiles include crocodiles, many species of snakes belonging to the viper and cobra families, pythons, chameleons, agamas, and aquatic and land turtles. Among the amphibians are the clawed frog and several species of the common frog. Especially characteristic of the fish are the dipnoan protopterus and bichir.
In the late 19th century and especially in the 20th century, the fauna of the region suffered extensively from the growth of the human population, from the conquest of new territories by man, and from the direct extermination of animals by man. This has been stemmed to some extent by the creation of national parks, reservations, and game preserves (Serengeti, Nairobi, Victoria Falls, Upemba, Kilimanjaro, and others).
V. G. GEPTNER