Volume 37 Issue 3
May  2016
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Patrick K. MALONZA. Conservation education and habitat restoration for the endangered Sagalla caecilian (Boulengerula niedeni) in Sagalla Hill, Kenya. Zoological Research, 2016, 37(3): 159-166. doi: 10.13918/j.issn.2095-8137.2016.3.159
Citation: Patrick K. MALONZA. Conservation education and habitat restoration for the endangered Sagalla caecilian (Boulengerula niedeni) in Sagalla Hill, Kenya. Zoological Research, 2016, 37(3): 159-166. doi: 10.13918/j.issn.2095-8137.2016.3.159

Conservation education and habitat restoration for the endangered Sagalla caecilian (Boulengerula niedeni) in Sagalla Hill, Kenya

doi: 10.13918/j.issn.2095-8137.2016.3.159
Funds:  This study was supported by the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund (MBZ) on the education (project number 11251778) and awareness work by US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) project award number F11AP00359 on habitat restoration work
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  • Corresponding author: Patrick K. MALONZA
  • Received Date: 2016-02-20
  • Rev Recd Date: 2016-05-10
  • Publish Date: 2016-05-18
  • The Sagalla caecilian (Boulengerula niedeni) is an endangered amphibian endemic to Sagalla Hill in the Taita Hills. This burrowing worm-like species prefers soft soil with high moisture and organic matter. The major threats to the Sagalla caecilian are soil erosion caused by steep slopes, bare ground and water siphoning/soil hardening from exotic eucalyptus trees. The purpose of this study was to get a better understanding of the local people's attitude towards this species and how they can contribute to its continued conservation through restoration of its remaining habitat. In this study, it was found that 96% of Sagalla people are aware of the species, its habits and its association with soils high in organic matter. It was also found that 96% of Sagalla people use organic manure from cow dung in their farms. Habitat restoration through planting of indigenous plants was found to be ongoing, especially on compounds of public institutions as well as on private lands. Although drought was found to be a challenge for seedlings development especially on the low elevation sites, destruction by livestock especially during the dry season is also a major threat. In this study, it was recommended that any future habitat restoration initiative should include strong chain-link fencing to protect the seedlings from livestock activity. Recognizing that the preferred habitats for the species are in the valleys, systematic planting of keystone plant species such as fig trees (Ficus) creates the best microhabitats. These are better than general woodlots of indigenous trees.
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  • [1] Joshi M, Palanisami K. 2011. Impact of eucalyptus plantations on ground water availability in south Karnataka, India. ICID 21st International Congress on Irrigation and Drainage, 15-23 October 2011, Tehran, Iran; R.57.4.03:255-262.
    [2] Lovett JC. 1990. Classification and status of the Tanzanian forests.
    [3] Mitteilungen aus dem Institut für Allgemeine Botanik in Hamburg, 23a:287-300.
    [4] Malonza KPW. 2008. Amphibian Biodiversity in Taita Hills, Kenya. PhD thesis. Johannes Gutenberg University-Mainz, Germany.
    [5] Malonza P K, Lötters S, Measey GJ. 2010. The montane forest associated amphibian species of the Taita Hills, Kenya. Journal of East African Natural History, 99(1):47-63.
    [6] Malonza PK, Veith M. 2012. Amphibian community along elevational and habitat disturbance gradients in the Taita Hills, Kenya. Herpetotropicos, 7(1-2):7-16.
    [7] Müller H, Measey GJ, Loader SP, Malonza PK. 2005. A new species of Boulengerula Tornier (Amphibia:Gymnophiona:Caeciliidae) from an isolated mountain block of the Taita Hills, Kenya. Zootaxa, 1004:37-50.
    [8] Sloan S, Jenkins CN, Joppa LN, Gaveau DLA, Laurance WF. 2014. Remaining natural vegetation in the global biodiversity hotspots. Biological Conservation, 177:12-24.
    [9] Tilashwork CA. 2009. The effect of eucalyptus on crop productivity, and soil properties in the Koga watershed, western Amhara region, Ethiopia. A thesis presented to the faculty of the graduate school of Cornell university in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of masters of professional studies. 48pp.
    [10] White, PCL, Jennings NV, Renwick AR, Barker NHL. 2005. Questionnaires in ecology:a review of past use and recommendations for best practice. Journal of Applied Ecology, 42:421-430.
    [11] Wojnowski D, Malonza PK. 2009. Kilima-Mrota is not a worm:the effect of conservation education and a local naming contest on the perspectives held by the peoples of Sagalla Hill, Kenya towards the Sagalla caecilian Boulengerula niedeni. Journal of East African Natural History, 98(2):241-248.
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Conservation education and habitat restoration for the endangered Sagalla caecilian (Boulengerula niedeni) in Sagalla Hill, Kenya

doi: 10.13918/j.issn.2095-8137.2016.3.159
Funds:  This study was supported by the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund (MBZ) on the education (project number 11251778) and awareness work by US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) project award number F11AP00359 on habitat restoration work
    Corresponding author: Patrick K. MALONZA

Abstract: The Sagalla caecilian (Boulengerula niedeni) is an endangered amphibian endemic to Sagalla Hill in the Taita Hills. This burrowing worm-like species prefers soft soil with high moisture and organic matter. The major threats to the Sagalla caecilian are soil erosion caused by steep slopes, bare ground and water siphoning/soil hardening from exotic eucalyptus trees. The purpose of this study was to get a better understanding of the local people's attitude towards this species and how they can contribute to its continued conservation through restoration of its remaining habitat. In this study, it was found that 96% of Sagalla people are aware of the species, its habits and its association with soils high in organic matter. It was also found that 96% of Sagalla people use organic manure from cow dung in their farms. Habitat restoration through planting of indigenous plants was found to be ongoing, especially on compounds of public institutions as well as on private lands. Although drought was found to be a challenge for seedlings development especially on the low elevation sites, destruction by livestock especially during the dry season is also a major threat. In this study, it was recommended that any future habitat restoration initiative should include strong chain-link fencing to protect the seedlings from livestock activity. Recognizing that the preferred habitats for the species are in the valleys, systematic planting of keystone plant species such as fig trees (Ficus) creates the best microhabitats. These are better than general woodlots of indigenous trees.

Patrick K. MALONZA. Conservation education and habitat restoration for the endangered Sagalla caecilian (Boulengerula niedeni) in Sagalla Hill, Kenya. Zoological Research, 2016, 37(3): 159-166. doi: 10.13918/j.issn.2095-8137.2016.3.159
Citation: Patrick K. MALONZA. Conservation education and habitat restoration for the endangered Sagalla caecilian (Boulengerula niedeni) in Sagalla Hill, Kenya. Zoological Research, 2016, 37(3): 159-166. doi: 10.13918/j.issn.2095-8137.2016.3.159
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