Hirola monitoring is still on as usual despite challenges here and there. However, this will not make us not to achieve what we want at the long run. Struggle to free our world from exposing species to extinction is our role and priority as conservationist. 2010 has started will much light at the end of the tunnel. First of all, thanks to Rufford Small Grants for their financial support that was received at the end of last year. Thanks also to the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), its EDGE of Existence conservation programme and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) for their continued support.
This year, the plan is to collect as much information as possible for the end year site specific management plan. First and foremost, is to train more staff in hirola monitoring. 2-3 sessions will be organized to train KWS staff on hirola identification, data collection and data collection on hirola threats. Tour drivers will be involved in data collections especially for hirola sightings. Simple driver cards have already been designed for this exercise.
Off course normal routine monitoring will be done so that information on their population structure, distribution and habitat requirements are collected. In addition to this, predator movements data will be collected.
Lab analysis will be done on predator scats to infer their diet composition and opportunistically detect if hirola is one of the prey species for suspected carnivores. Also faecal samples of hirola and livestock will be collected and analyzed for parasites composition. This will help in describing the impacts of parasites on hirola sub population. Data on livestock distribution and overlap will be taken care of during routine monitoring.
Bones will be collected in suspected areas where bushmeat is believed to have taken place. The bones will be used to determine the victim species. This helps in determining the rate of bushmeat on hirola. Apart from this, a community survey will be carried out. This will be a friendly interactive survey.
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