Basil Lewela

  • Project name: Habitat restoration of the Sagalla Hill to enhance survival of the Critically Endangered caecilian
  • Project site: Taita Hills, Kenya
  • EDGE species: Sagalla caecilian Boulengerula niedeni
  • Active: 2015 - 2017


Basil has over 15 years of experience working in Taita Hills community projects in the conservation sector. His motivation to apply for an EDGE Fellowship was his desire to prevent the Critically Endangered Sagalla caecilian from becoming extinct, and to demonstrate the value of the caecilians role in soil fertility and aeration.

Through his EDGE Fellowship, Basil was able to expand his technical knowledge, which will support him in guiding legislation and putting forward proposals for caecilian conservation.

EDGE Project

The Taita Hills in Kenya contain many endemic threatened species, but the local population suffers high unemployment which leads to significant deforestation of the Sagalla caecilians habitat. Loss of indigenous forest has degraded environments for both farming and biodiversity and compromised ecosystem services.

Basil was awarded an EDGE Fellowship to support a larger Darwin Initiative project. During his Fellowship Basil has:

  • Led widespread replanting schemes to reconnect disparate forest fragments;
  • Trained farmers in sustainable farming and water/soil management.
  • Held public sensitization meetings on the value of Taita ecosystems and community benefits of integrating sustainable livelihood activities to biodiversity conservation;


  • Basil updated the Species Action Plan for the Sagalla caecilian and developed a field manual for the project;
  • A Sagalla caecilian distribution map was produced;
  • Native tree seedling and sapling planting took place in Sagalla Hill and 1051 tree seedlings were planted in Kimangachu Primary School, Taita.


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