Cameroon lies a stone's throw north of the equator on the west coast of Africa. It is often called 'Africa in miniature' and is a microcosm of the entire continent, exhibiting the climates, vegetation and the geography including the coast, desert, mountains, forests and plains. Its cultural diversity rivals its nature with dozens of independent tribes and hundreds of linguistic groups. Wildlife habitat in Cameroon has been threatened with over-logging and the expansion of agriculture and many species of wildlife are endangered due to meat hunting by hungry natives and poacher's ugly snares.
Cameroon is a zoological treasure trove and the diverse habitat hosts all the major species to be found throughout Africa and those that are reserved for the equatorial regions. Cameroon's rich biodiversity allows it to support 300 species of mammals, 900 species of birds and reptiles are well represented with a collection of snakes, lizards and the rivers are home to populations of crocodiles.
Two of the most notable of Cameroons animal inhabitants are the lowland and Cross River gorillas
. These majestic creatures are barely holding on despite noble efforts by a variety of international groups trying to assure their survival. Besides the great gorillas, primate species are numerous and include chimpanzees
, gibbons, baboons and a wide variety of lesser known monkeys such as bushbabys, swamp monkeys, tatapoins and quenons.
Many of Cameroon's animals come in different sizes. Huge savanna elephants dwarf their small forest cousins; there are full sized hippos and the diminutive pygmy hippo in the rivers and there is a forest species of African buffalo
that is small with a red hide and an even worse temper.
There are antelope, duikers and gazelle; the elusive bongo hides in Cameroon's forest and there are waterbucks
, Roan antelope
, common warthogs and giant forest hogs
. Cameroon's well fed carnivores stalk the forests and plains and there are prides of lions hunting the savannas, leopards in dark forests, cheetahs
race the plains and there is a cleanup crew of jackals, hyenas, badgers and a handful of the smaller cats.
Cameroon is well and truly, Africa in miniature.