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Conservation Research

Priority Ecosystems and Species

Kenya is rich in biological diversity. Around 25,000 species of animal and 7000 species of plants have so far been recorded, along with atleast 2000 fungi and bacteria. An enormous species of plants and animals inhabit the country’s varied habitats, from its crowded and colorful coral reefs to icy alpine moorlands. What is however, clear is that Kenya’s biodiversity is under threats from a variety of sources include natural and anthropogenic effects, and without concerted efforts for research and focused conservation actions, we are likely to loose unique species some of which are endemic to Kenya.

The extensive network of protected areas gazetted as national parks and reserves offer a greater opportunity for Kenya’s biodiversity conservation.

1. Endangered ecosystems

Mara National Reserve, Mara Conservancy, Siana, Koiyaki, Olare Orok Lemek, Ol Pieyei, Loita hills, plains and forest, Suswa, Nguruman, Maji Moto, Ol Choro Orua, Ol Gulului/ Lolorashi  Group Ranch, Mbirikani Group Ranch, Kuku A  and B Group Ranches, Selengei Group Ranch, Ol Gulului Trust Land, Kimana Group Ranch, Rombo Group Ranch, West Chyulu National Park,Mashuru, Nairobi National park, Athi-Kitengela & Kaputei Plains, Machakos ranches, Lake Nakuru N.P and its catchment, Mau Forest Complex, Soysambu Ranch, Marula Ranch, Lake Elementaita and its catchment and its basin, Soysambu Ranch, Marula ranch, Eburru Forest, Sibiloi National Park, Kerio valley, Lake Turkana, Mt. Kulal, Loima hills, Mt. Nyiro, Central and Southern Islands National Parks, Nairobi Ranch, Kipini, Witu forest, Tana Primate National Primate Reserve, Lango la Simba Ranch, Sheikh Salim Ranch.

2. Areas of environmental significance

Baringo Ecosystem, Boni-Dodori -Kiunga Ecosystem, Malindi- Watamu Ecosystem, Mt. Elgon Ecosystem, Mt. Kenya Ecosystem, Marsabit Ecosystem, Lake Naivasha Ecosystem, Aberdare Ecosystem Ranges, Tsavo Ecosystem, Shimba Hills Ecosystem.

3. Water towers of national importance
Mt. Kenya Ecosystem, Aberdares Ecosystem, Mt. Elgon Ecosystem, Mau Forest Complex Ecosystem, Cherangany Forests, Shimba Hills Ecosystem, Chyulu Hills, Taita Hills, Marsabit Forest, Kibwezi Forest, Ngong Forest, Karura Forest, Mathews Range, Mua Hills, Loita Hills, Kakamega Forest National Reserve, Bonjoge Forest, Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park, Ndundori Hills

4. Endangered and threatened mammals
Aders' duiker (Cephalophus adersi);Black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis); Hirola (Beatragus hunteri); Eastern red colobus (Procolobus rufomitratus); Tana crested mangabey (Cercocebus galeritus); Roan antelope (Hippotragus equinus); Sable antelope (Hippotragus niger); White rhino (Ceratotherium simum simum); Coalfish whale (Balaenoptera borealis); Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus); Grevy's zebra (Equus grevyi); African wild dog (Lycaon pictus); Giant thicket rat (Grammomys gigas); Barbour's vlei rat (Otomys barbouri); Mount Elgon vlei rat (Otomys jacksoni); Golden-rumped elephant shrew (Rhynchocyon chrysopygus); Eastern bongo (Tragelaphus eurycerus isaaci); African elephant (Loxodonta Africana); African lion (Panthera leo); Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus); Striped hyaena (Hyaena Hyaena); Sitatunga (Tragelaphus spekii); Leopard (Panthera pardus); Lelwel hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus); Rothschild’s giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi).

5. Endangered and threatened birds
Taita apalis (Apalis fuscigularis); Taita thrush (Turdus helleri); Madagascar pond-heron (Ardeola idae); Saker falcon (Falco cherrug); Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus); Sokoke scops-owl (Otus ireneae); Aberdare cisticola (Cisticola aberdare); Basra reed-warbler (Acrocephalus griseldis); Turner's eremomela (Eremomela turneri); Spotted ground-thrush (Zoothera guttata); Amani sunbird (Anthreptes pallidigaster); Clarke's weaver (Ploceus golandi); Sharpe's longclaw (Macronyx sharpei); Sokoke pipit (Anthus sokokensis); Lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni); White-headed vulture (Trigonoceps occipitalis); Lappet-faced vulture (Torgos tracheliotos); Greater spotted eagle (Aquila clanga); Eastern imperial eagle (Aquila heliaca); Madagascar pratincole (Glareola ocularis); Blue swallow (Hirundo atrocaerulea); White-winged apalis (Apalis chariessa); Karamoja apalis (Apalis karamojae); Papyrus yellow warbler (Chloropeta gracilirostris); Hinde's pied-babbler (Turdoides hindei); Abbott's starling (Cinnyricinclus femoralis); Chapin's flycatcher (Muscicapa lendu).

6. Endangered and threatened reptiles
Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata); Du toit's torrent frog (Petropedetes dutoiti); Green turtle (Chelonia mydas); Olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea); Rock python (Python sebae); Shimba hills banana frog (Afrixalus sylvaticus); Shimba hills reed frog (Hyperolius rubrovermiculatus); Forest frog (Afrixalus sylvaticus); Treefrog (Hyperolius rubrovermiculatus); Mount Kenya frog (Phrynobatrachus irangi); Crevice tortoise (Malacochersus tornieri); Turkana mud turtle (Pelusios broadleyi); Montane toad (Bufo kerinyagae); Montane tree frog (Hyperolius cystocandicans); Mt. Kenya bush viper  (Atheris desaixi); Kemp's ridley  (Lepidochelys kempii); Black turtle  (Chelonia agassizi); Loggerhead  (Caretta caretta); Leatherback  (Dermochelys coriacea); Yellow-bellied hinged terrapin  (Pelusios castanoides); Tropical geckos  (Hemidactylus modestus); Baobab gecko  (Hemidactylus platycephalus); Writhing skink  (Lygosoma tanae); Keel-bellied lizard  (Gastropholis prasina); Girdled-lizard  (Cordylus tropidosternum); Worm snakes  (Leptotyphlops boulengeri); G√ľnther’s centipede-eater  (Aparallactus turneri); East African egg eating snakes  (Dasypeltis medici); Large brown spitting cobra  (Naja ashei); Black necked spotters  (Naja nigricollis); Savannah monitor lizard  (Varanus albigularis); Speckled bush snake  (Philothamnus punctatus); Puff adder  (Bitis arietans); Green mamba  (Dendroaspis angusticeps); Nairobi toad  (Bufo nairobiensis); Silvery tree frog  (Leptopelis argenteus); Taita toad  (Bufo taitanus); Yellow-spotted tree frog  (Leptopelis flavomaculatus); Turkana toad (Bufo turkanae); Delicate spiny reed frog (Afrixalus delicatus); Painted reed frog (Hyperolius marmoratus); Long reed frog (Hyperolius nasutus); Spotted reed frog (Hyperolius puncticulatus); Water lily reed frog (Hyperolius pusillus); Kenya sand boar  (Eryx colubrinus); Side-striped chameleon  (Chamaeleo bitaeniatus); Flap-neck chameleon  (Chamaeleo dilepis); Elliot's chameleon  (Chamaeleo ellioti); High casqued chameleon  (Chamaeleo Hohnelii); Jackson's chameleon (three-horned chameleon)  (Chamaeleo jacksoni); Mount Kenya chameleon  (Chamaeleo schubotzi); Gaboon viper  (Bitis gabonica gabonica).

7. Endangered and threatened fishes
Singidia tilapia  (Oreochromis esculentus); Lake Chala tilapia  (Oreochromis hunteri); Jipe tilapia  (Oreochromis jipe); Victoria tilapia  (Oreochromis variabilis); Rainbow sheller  (Ptyochromis sp.); Lake Victoria deepwater catfish  (Xenoclarias eupogon); Montane dancing-jewel  (Platycypha amboniensis); Magadi tilapia  (Alcolapia alcalicus); Giant wrasse  (Cheilinus undulatus); Victoria stonebasher  (Marcusenius victoriae); Kyoga flameback  (Xystichromis nuchisquamulatus); Grey nurse shark  (Carcharias taurus); Bigeye tuna  (Thunnus obesus); Whale shark  (Rhincodon typus); Porcupine ray  (Urogymnus asperrimus); Oceanic whitetip shark  (Carcharhinus longimanus); Great white shark  (Carcharodon carcharias); Bowmouth guitarfish  (Rhina ancylostoma); Black-blotched stingray  (Taeniura meyeni); Giant guitarfish  (Rhynchobatus djiddensis); Shorttail nurse shark  (Pseudoginglymostoma brevicaudatum); Brindle bass  (Epinephelus lanceolatus); Blue notho  (Nothobranchius patrizii); Boji plains nothobranch  (Nothobranchius bojiensis); Elongate nothobranch  (Nothobranchius elongatus); Ewaso nyiro labeo  (Labeo percivali).

8. Endangered and threatened plants
Voi cycad  (Encephalartos kisambo); East African sandalwood  (Osyris lanceolata); Red stinkwood  (Prunus africana); Meru oak  (Vitex keniensis); Camphor  (Ocotea kenyensis); Parasol tree  (Polyscias kikuyuensis); Rat aloe  (Aloe ballyi); Tana river poplar  (Populus ilicifolia).

9. Alien/invasive animals
Coypu rat  (Myocastor coypus); Speckled mousebird  (Colius striatus); Ring-necked pheasant  (Phasianus colchicus); Mute swan  (Cygnus olor); Chaffinch  (Fringilla coelebs); House finch  (Carpodacus mexicanus); Common indian myna  (Acridotheres tristis); Rose-ringed (ring-necked) parakeet  (Psittacula krameri); Common (european) starling  (Sturnus vulgaris); Rock dove (feral pigeon)  (Columba livia); Beautiful fruit dove  (Ptilinopus pulchellus); Black-chinned fruit dove  (Ptilinopus leclancheri); Coroneted fruit dove  (Ptilinopus coronulatus); Mariana fruit dove  (Ptilinopus roseicapilla); Pink-spotted fruit dove  (Ptilinopus perlatus); Wompoo fruit dove  (Ptilinopus magnificus); Speckled mousebird  (Colius striatus); House crow  (Corvus splendens); Red-billed quelea  (Quelea quelea); Red-headed agama lizard  (Agama agama); Brother’s island tuatara lizard  (Sphenodon guntheri); Orange-throated whiptail lizard  (Aspidoscelis hyperythra beldingi); Rainbow kopje skink  (Lampropholis delicata,); Brown tree snake  (Boiga irregularis); Red diamond rattlesnake  (Crotalus exsul); Burmese star tortoise  (Geochelone platynota).

10. Alien/invasive plants
Mathenge (velvet mesquite)  (Prosopis juliflora); Tickberry  (Lantana camara); Nile cabbage  (Pistia stratiotes); Yellow oleander  (Thevetia peruviana); Crown of thorns  (Acanthaster planci); Mauritius thorn  (Caesalpinia decapelata); Jimsonweed  (Datura stramoniun); Yellow bells  (Tecoma stans); Mexican poppy  (Argemone mexicana); Long spine cactus  (Opuntia exaltata); Sweet prickly pear  (Opuntia ficus- indica); Drooping prickly pear  (Opuntia vulgaris); Water hyacinth  (Eichhornia crassipes).

11. Wildlife species for which game farming may be allowed*
Animals: Crocodile, Tortoise, Chameleon, Reptiles (other than snakes), Snails, Frog, Lizards, Butterfly, Snake (for display and venom extraction, export of live for breeding), Ostrich, Pigeon (Except those listed in), Doves (except those listed in Schedule 5 of the Wildlife Act, Ducks, Helmeted Guineafowl, Vulturine  Guineafowl, Quail.
Plants: Aloe, Red stinkwood Prunus Africana, East african sandalwood Osyris lanceolata, White’s ginger (mkombera)Mondia whytei, Camphor basil Ocimum kilimanscharicum.



* Game farming require special permits from Kenya Wildlife Service
 
 

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