Lake Tanganyika, bordering on Zambia, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi, is the world's longest lake and second deepest. It is estimated to have formed between two to twenty million years ago making it also one of the world's most ancient lakes. Lake Tanganyika lies at the southern end of the Western Great Rift Valley and is mostly surrounded by mountains and under developed plains. Lake Tanganyika has only one outlet, the Lukuga River which flows from the east shore of the lake and winds its way 200 miles into the Lualaba River in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
A freshwater lake, Lake Tanganyika is home to 2,000 plant and animal species including an estimated 500 species of fish including 250 cichlid fish species some of which grow up to three foot in length. These fish are featured in this video documentary. The lake is also home to the slender snouted crocodile (Crocodylus cataphractus). The lake itself was unknown to the wider world until 'discovered' by British explorers John Speke and Richard Burton in 1858 whilst they were searching for the source of the Nile. Today some 100,000 are reliant on the lake for fishing, whilst an estimated million people gain almost half of their protein from the food trawled there reflecting the number of people who live around the lake.
It is therefore of some concern that Lake Tanganyika is warming, with some reports stating that the lake is at its warmest for 1,500 years. This warming will inevitably affect fish stocks and those reliant of the lake for their food, however others claim that whilst the warming will inevitably do harm, that harm is over shadowed by over fishing of the lake. This video documentary about Lake Tanganyika explores the marine life of the lake as well as its environment, an environment under some threat from pollution discharges into the lake from fishing boats as well as pesticides.
Lake Tanganyika: Tanzania Country Profile
Lake Tanganyika: Main Lakes of Africa
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