EDGE Community

Project information

[Project name/title]
Sagalla Caecilian Conservation in Kenya

[Project description/overview]

Sagalla Hill (Taita Hills - Eastern Arc Mountains), Kenya

Project type:

Relevant EDGE species:
Sagalla Caecilian (Boulengerula niedeni)

Project members:
Carly Waterman

Relevant species
3. Sagalla Caecilian (Boulengerula niedeni) CR

Resembling a large earthworm, this species lives underground and has no limbs or externally visible eyes.

[Relevance description]
Species background

Despite its close resemblance to an earth worm, the Sagalla caecilian is actually a limbless amphibian. It spends most of its life below ground and is adapted for a burrowing lifestyle – its eyes are covered by a protective skin, it has a strong, bony skull for pushing through the soil, and possesses sensory tentacles either side of its head to detect the chemical signals from its prey. The Sagalla caecilian is only found in one small area in the south-east of Kenya – Sagalla Hill – which is around half the size of Manhattan Island.


To protect and expand remnant natural habitat across Sagalla Hill for the area’s threatened biodiversity and local communities, stop further environmental destruction and degradation and improve/enhance natural resource management.

  • Removing Eucalyptus plantations and replacing them with native vegetation to stabilise the soil and prevent further erosion and desiccation
  • Developing sustainable livelihoods (e.g. fish farming schemes) to provide an income to local farmers as an alternative to draining wetlands and riverine valleys
  • Improving farming techniques to increase soil fertility and decrease soil erosion
  • Restoring vegetation along stream banks and on steep slopes in order to minimise erosion and loss of important soil habitat
  • TTWF nursery established along with 7 other community based nurseries
  • Over 12,000 trees have been planted on Sagalla Hill by community groups
  • Training of 54 fish farmers took place in February-May 2011 and four subsequent farms constructed
  • Training of 22 farmers in appropriate farming techniques for soil and water conservation in February 2011
  • Ongoing awareness campaigns in local communities and schools
Future actions
  • Continue planting of native tree species in water catchment areas.
  • Continue rehabilitation of riverine areas.
  • Initiate nature-based enterprises that will improve livelihoods while contributing to conservation.
  • Provide an outlet (assist in marketing) for products of nature-based enterprises
Project members
Ms Carly Waterman : Project Leader

Carly is a Pangolin Technical Specialist at the Zoological Society of London, and the Programme Officer for the IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group.

[Member role description]
[Title:] Image | Sagalla caecilian | © John Measey
[Image caption]
Associated Blog Posts
20th Jun 12
In Kenya, the Sagalla Caecilian Conservation Project is carrying out habitat rehabilitation through planting of indigenous trees and vetiva grass in Saga...  Read

16th Dec 11
The alternative livelihoods project to secure a future for he Sagalla caecilian never stops... Tree planting The weather has favoured tree planting t...  Read

4th May 11
James Mwang'ombe is the project manager for the Sagalla Caecilian (Boulengerula niedeni) conservation project in Kenya. One of the projects activities is the...  Read

5th Nov 10
An update from James Mwang’ombe, the supervisor of EDGE Fellow Dorine Shali, both of whom are contributing to the conservation of the Sagalla caecilian in ...  Read

27th Dec 09
I, James Mwang’ombe, am Dorine’s local supervisor and the Head of the Taita Taveta Wildlife Forum. The Sagalla Caecilian conservation project is one o...  Read

20th Nov 09
The following blog update was sent by James Mwang'ombe of the Taita Taveta Wildlife Forum in Kenya, where EDGE Fellow Dorine is working to conserve the elusi...  Read

27th Jul 09
EDGE Fellow Dorine Shali has been familiarising herself with her study species, and the problems it faces on Sagalla Hill, Kenya. A field visit was conduc...  Read

4th Jun 09
The EDGE Amphibians project has recently secured funding to start a conservation project for one of our highest priority species - the Sagalla caecilian (Bou...  Read