Dec 24, 2015

Nature Kenya launches appeal to save the Taita Apalis from extinction

Prompted by the results of our research, Nature Kenya, one of oldest environmentalist organizations as well as the BirdLife partner in Kenya, has launched an appeal to save Taita apalis. Let's hope that the appeal will meet with success, because Taita apalis is really on the brink of extinction.
While we wait to see the results of NAture Kenya's appeal, our field research continues, to try and understand why Taita apalis has decreased by more than 60% in just ten years: its global population might not be less than 200 individuals!


Sep 1, 2015

Race is on to save the rare Taita Apalis

Taita apalis featured in a recent newspaper article by journalist Rupi Mangat, who summarizes the latest research findings from our work and the initiatives to try and save this unique bird from extinction.

Here is the link to Rupi's article

Mar 1, 2015

Teaching Conservation in the Taita Hills

Taita apalis survives in just 3 small forests and nowhere else!
The Taita hills in southern Kenya are one of the key area for the conservation of biodiversity in East Africa. Many species are endemic to these small mountains - that is, they only exist here and nowhere else in the world. Some species, such as the Taita apalis and the Taita thrush are restricted to a range of less than 500 hectares, which is more or less the same area as Central Park in New York. This is an extremely tiny range! For these reason, the IUCN and BirdLife International consider these two birds "Critically Endangered" which means an extremely high risk of extinction within less than 10 years.

Lawrence leading primary school pupils in the Taita forest
For many years, we have been involved in research and conservation activities in the Taita Hills. One of the key goals in conservation is increasing awareness, that is, making everybody know about the importance of conserving biodiversity. We must conserve it because these unique species are the common heritage of the entire world, and if we loose them, nobody will be able to to resurrect them.

Lawrence Wagura, one of the members of the Taita hills team, has been very active in teaching about conservation in primary and secondary schools in the Taita hills.

With support from the African Bird Club, Lawrence has recently embarked in an ambitious project that has involved more than 700 pupils from primary and secondary schools in the Taita. Lawrence visited the schools, and taught the students about biodiversity,, first in the classrooms, and then in the field, leading the students in a walk through some of the most interesting forests of the Taita hills. The students have been able to hear about the endemic birds, insects, plants and herps, and have even been able to see some of them with their eyes. For many of them, it was the first time, even though they all live in the Taita hills!

You can read more about Lawrence's project here.

Jan 19, 2015

Butterflies in the Chyulu hills

Lawrence and I recently spent some days in the Chyulu hills to teach the art of butterfly-watching to a team of local Maasai tourist guides. Here is a report on our pleasant stay.

Hypolycaena philippi