Assessment of the range and population of golden rumped elephant -shrew (Rhynchocyon Chrysopygus) In The Northern Coastal Forests Of Kenya
This research was conducted from September 2007 to April 2008 on three ecological aspects of the golden-rumped elephant-shrew (GRES) in selected forests along north coast of Kenya. Range of the golden-rumped elephant-shrew was first determined at sites further north from Arabuko-Sokoke forest (ASF) and its environs, to Boni and Dodori National Reserves through ground-truthing. Secondly, 6 m wide transects were used to assess relative densities and population in confirmed habitats of the species. Thirdly. questionnaire surveys were used to measure conservation attitudes of the indigenous people living adjacent to the forests towards GRES. This research showed that the GRES is only found within the protected Arabuko- Sokoke and Gede National Monument forests. An unrecorded species of elephantshrew was discovered at Bani and Dodori Reserves and is undergoing tests to determine classification. Density results indicate a 9% decrease in total GRES number while specific trends in ASF show population estimate of GRES at Cynometra forest have increased by 12% and declined at Brachystegia forest by 21% and :by 50% in the mixed forest. Estimated GRES population at Gede was an estimated 20·individuals. An observation from the indigenous people showed lack of knowledge on endemic species within their area and lack of know-how on how to sustainably use resources present in the area, and this is one main factor why destruction of the forests was still a problem. Observations of forest quality in Gede show that proper fencing and monitoring of a forest can support existence of an endangered species even with destruction of the surroundings. Addition of a buffer zone can decrease frequency of poaching in the forest by providing an area for safe extraction of firewood and herbs by the indigenous people. Education emphasizing on importance of conservation of resources especially endemic species is therefore important targeting all age groups for conservation to be effective over many generations.