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.

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