Grace Ngaruiya, our Kenyan EDGE Fellow who works on the golden-rumped elephant shrew, recently went to Boni National Reserve in Kenya to search for this elusive creature. Here is some information Grace sent about the reserve and some of the wildlife that lives in the region:
Boni forest is a coastal tropical forest that is gazetted and a small section managed by the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) as a National Reserve with an area of 1339 km². The general area lies from 1°76′ to 1°25’N and 40°83′ to 41°66’E. The area’s climate is heavily influenced by the north-east and south-west monsoons blowing from the Indian Ocean. It has two rainy seasons: April – June and October – December, with annual rainfall ranging from 750-1000 mm and temperatures ranging from 15-38 °C.
Boni forest covers a quarter of the Ijara District, stretching all the way to the Eastern part of Lamu District and the Western section of Badaade district of Somalia. It was created in 1976 as a dry season sanctuary for elephants from Ijara and Lamu districts. It has tree species rarely found in other forests. The common tree species include: Homalium abdessamadii, Croton megalocarpoides, Croton polytrichus, Excoecaria bussei and Encephalartos hildebrandtii.
The forest has several confirmed wildlife species namely: aardwolf, buffalo, bush-pig, bush-buck, caracal, cheetah, common duiker, generuk, Grant’s gazelle, hippo, honey badger, black-backed jackal, Kirk’s dik dik, leopard, lesser kudu, lion, oribi, porcupine, red duiker, spotted hyena, squirrel, topi, vervet monkeys, yellow baboon, elephants, warthog, waterbuck, wild dog and zebra.
There are also more than 152 species of birds including African darter, hamerkop, African fish eagle, Hartlaub’s bustard, sanderling, Fischer’s turaco, fiery-necked nightjar. Many more have been seen through surveys with my research team, though no official research on the birds has been done.
It has 5 threatened plant species (Dalbergia vacciniifolia, Canthium kilifiense Canthium pseudoverticillatum, Mkilua fragrans, Synsepalum subverticillatum) and 2 threatened animal species – the African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and the elephant shrew (Rhynchocyon sp.)
With such rich diversity (half of which is yet to be researched) then the area has potential in conservation and tourism as it has a good foundation, namely species richness, unpolluted environment and still intact forest, on which to form the basis for tourist attraction in the district.
If you would like to support Grace’s research to conserve the golden-rumped elephant shrew please click here.