Fauna and Flora of Sao Tome and Principe

Sao Tome and Principe does not have a large number of native mammals (although the Sao Tome shrew and several bat species are endemic). The islands are home to a larger number of endemic birds and plants, including the world's smallest ibis (the São Tomé Ibis), the world's largest sunbird (the Giant Sunbird), the rare São Tomé Fiscal, and several giant species of Begonia. São Tomé and Principe is an important marine turtle nesting site, notably for hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata)

The wildlife of the islands is composed of its flora and fauna. Sao Tome and Principe are oceanic islands which have always been separated from mainland West Africa and so there is a relatively low diversity of species, restricted to those that have managed to cross the sea to the islands. However the level of endemism is high with many species occurring nowhere else in the world.

There are about 895 species of vascular plant native to the islands, of which 95 are restricted to São Tomé and 37 occur only on Príncipe. The families Orchidaceae, Rubiaceae and Euphorbiaceae are well represented, as are the genera Calvoa and Begonia. The giant endemic begonias Begonia crateris and Begonia baccata can reach three metres in height. The islands are also rich in ferns. The only gymnosperm is a single endemic species from São Tomé, Podocarpus mannii

The WWF after recent expedition also classified the Sao Tome and Principe forests as one of the world 200 eco-region, which means as one of the 200 most important biodiversity area in the world. Given that many of eco-region covers widespread areas, the presence of Sao Tome and Principe in this list testifies its exceptional nature. Of the 700 local plant types, about 100 of these are only found in Sao Tome and Principe, including a begonia that grows up to 3 m high, and unique orchids.

The bird life is also other of the natural wonders of the country: with about 1000km2, Sao Tome and Principe has 28 species of endemic birds. Only Sao Tome Island has 21 endemic species. This is an extraordinary number because islands with the similar dimensions usually have 1 to 2 endemic bird species. In the nineties, Birdlife International included Sao Tome and Principe in the top 25% of 218 "Endemic Bird Area" (EBAs) worldwide for their species richness. More recently, the forest of both islands have been included among the "Important Bird Area" (IBAs) of Africa.