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What you didn't know about Zanzibar

Unguja Island

Zanzibar is a tropical, semi-autonomous region of Tanzania situated less than 30 miles off of the east coast of the African mainland. The islands that make up Zanzibar are often referred to as the Spice Islands, along with Mafia Island, due to their large exportation of Zanzibar spices. As well as its exports Zanzibar has a large tourism trade with Zanzibar holiday packages always in high demand. This can be partly based on its large range of endemic megafauna. The Zanzibar red colobus monkey is endemic to Unguja, the main island of the Zanzibar archipelago; it is classified as endangered, and was adopted as the flagship species for conservation in Zanzibar. The Zanzibar servaline genet was discovered recently on Unguja Island, and is also solely found in Zanzibar; it was first photographed in 2003. Zanzibar is also the home of a mysterious subspecies of leopard, known as the Zanzibar leopard. High levels of conflict between the Zanzibari people and carnivorous megafauna in the 20th century led to deliberate attempts to drive the Zanzibar leopard to extinction. As a consequence the numbers of Zanzibar leopard populations are so low conservation efforts were halted due to the negligible potential for saving the species.

As a result of the unique and endangered charismatic species that call Zanzibar home, ecotourism and wildlife conservation groups have blossomed in Zanzibar in the last 30 years. A broad forest conservation program known as the Wildlife Conservation Society Zanzibar Forest Project was established to research the ecology of the Zanzibar red colobus, becoming closely involved with the conservation of many endangered species in Zanzibar. With the difficult combination of a rapidly growing human population and several endangered and endemic wildlife species, conservation and research in Zanzibar has become a priority of the government, who have begun to work closely with the Zanzibar Forests Project to preserve these species for future generations.

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