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Chirinda Forest is the southernmost area of tropical rainforest in Africa, covering the two rounded hilltops of Mount Selinda. Chirinda is administered by the Forestry Commission. It is situated 30 km south of Chipinge town, and is easily accessible along a tar road. It is one of the best researched forests in Zimbabwe, with scientific collections of flora and fauna being made as early as 1900.
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. Chirinda’s avifauna (73 species regularly occur) is unusual as it is a mixture of high- and medium/low-altitude forest species. Chirinda is the type-locality for the globally threatened Swynnertonia swynnertoni and also for 11 subspecies of forest/woodland bird.
Non-bird biodiversity: Chirinda contains a giant specimen of Khaya anthotheca (VU), known as the Big Tree, measuring 54 m high and 5.25 m circumference around the base. The Big Tree is considered to be not less than 1,000 years old and is a National Monument. Notable mammals are Aethomys silidensis, Uranomys ruddi, Mysorex cafer, Petrodomus tetradactylus swynnertoni (type-locality) and Paraxerus palliatus swynnertoni (endemic race).As with the birds, Chirinda is important in the distribution of forest reptiles and amphibians because it is intermediate between high and low altitudes. The montane forest herpetofauna is represented by Rhampholeon marshalli and Strongylopus grayii. The East African lowland herpetofauna is represented by Bitis gabonica, Naja melanoleuca, Dendroaspis angusticeps, Natriciteres sylvatica, Dasypeltis medici, Stephopaedes anotis (type-locality), Arthroleptis xendactyloides (type-locality) and Leptopelis flavomaculatus. Chirinda is also the type-locality for Hyperolius marmoratus swynnertoni.Among butterflies, there is one known endemic, Mimacrea neokoton, and two species with very restricted ranges, Anthene sheppardi and Pentila swynnertoni.
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Chirinda Forest. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/07/2021.