Range Extension for the Pancake Tortoise in Northeastern Kenya

Yvonne A. de Jong and Thomas M. Butynski
Eastern Africa Primate Diversity and Conservation Program, Nanyuki, Kenya

It took us only a second to realize what we were looking at. On the track in front of our Land Rover was a flat, turtle-like, creature scurrying from one rocky hill (or ‘kopje) to another. What we were seeing was an adult male Pancake Tortoise (or Crevice Tortoise Malacochersus tornieri). The Pancake Tortoise is referred to locally, in Kiswahili, as ‘Kobe kama Chapati’—Chapati Tortoise.

Continue Reading No Comments

Marsabit National Park and its forest-dwelling Grévy’s zebra and other animals

Thomas M. Butynski and Yvonne A. de Jong
Eastern Africa Primate Diversity and Conservation Program, Nanyuki, Kenya

Marsabit National Park (1,554 km²), located in northern Kenya, is named after Mount Marsabit, a shield volcano (1,707 m asl; 6,300 km²) that last erupted ~600,000 years ago (Scoon 2022). The higher reaches of Mount Marsabit are mostly covered with mid-altitude and montane forest that is dependent on frequent heavy mist to supplement the low rainfall. This unique forest is an island among the arid and semi-arid plains of northern Kenya as it is bounded by the Koroli Desert to the west, the Chalbi Desert to the northwest, the Dida Galgalu Desert to the north and northeast, and the vast, semi-arid, plains leading to Somalia and the Indian Ocean to the east and southeast. Dominant trees in the montane forest include pencil cedar Juniperus procera and African olive Olea europaea africana. Big fig trees Ficus are common. Acacia woodlands and bushlands cover the lower slopes. There are several volcanic craters, some with freshwater lakes (e.g., Lake Paradise, Lake Marsabit, Lake Horr), that offer grazing around their perimeters and drinking water for most, or all, of the year.

Continue Reading No Comments

New desert warthog records for Laikipia County, central Kenya

By Yvonne de Jong & Tom Butynski

There are two species of warthog, the well-known common warthog Phacochoerus africanus and the desert warthog Phacochoerus aethiopicus. The latter occupies the Horn of Africa and Kenya but it once occurred in South Africa and, perhaps, Namibia, where it was known as the ‘Cape warthog’. The desert warthog, long overlooked by zoologists, is one of Africa’s least studied and most poorly-known large mammals. Although this pig was described in 1766, confusion concerning its taxonomy resulted in the recognition of only one species of warthog, the common warthog.

Continue Reading No Comments

Annotated list of large birds extirpated from Laikipia County, Kenya, and some of conservation concern

Thomas M. Butynski & Yvonne A. de Jong
Eastern Africa Primate Diversity and Conservation Program & Lolldaiga Hills Research Programme

Laikipia County (ca. 9,700 km²), central Kenya, comprises a highly diverse landscape of grassland, bushland, woodland, dry forest, moist forest, riverine forest, wetland, and farmland.

Continue Reading No Comments