Biodiversity 15-10-2015

Dear Friends,

With pride and humbled by nature endurance I send this report that confirms the triumph of Ol Ari Nyiro resilience in front of the most dire of challenges:

Our biodiversity list -we are told- due to constant research since the late ’80s, is possibly the most extensive in Kenya already; and still, every time the researchers of the National Museums come, they manage to find something NEW to the list.
Ol Ari Nyiro has the highest and lowest points in the Laikipia region: it’s biodiversity is legendary, also due to relentless protection.

Here is

– in just over ONE week:

29 NEW species records
including :

1 snake,
7 invertebrates and …,
21 plants!!!

In praise and awe of the wild things that one long gone day of April I vowed to dedicate my life to protect for ever,

Thank you


In Ol Ari Nyiro
The Place of Springs

A family of Wild dogs -with pups- has been regularly spotted close to our central area.

I paste the summary of the report below, click here to download the PDF OF THE COMPLETE REPORT.

(Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds, Invertebrates and Plants)

Victor Wasonga, Philista Malaki, Reuben Mwakodi and Kennedy Matheka

A Technical Report Submitted to the Gallmann Memorial Foundation (GMF)

National Museums of Kenya
Directorate of Research & Collections
PO Box 40658 – 00100GPO
Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: +254-20-8164134/35/36
P.O. Box 63704
Mobile: +254 734 352 493


August, 2015

Executive Summary
The National Museums of Kenya biodiversity team conducted yet another wet season biodiversity assessment of Ol Ari Nyiro (OAN), Laikipia Nature Conservancy from 4th‒10thAugust, 2015. This is the 5th major survey in a series of documentation and monitoring exercise supported by Gallmann Memorial Foundation (GMF). The team included four thematic areas namely: – herpetofauna (reptiles and amphibians), invertebrates, birds and plants. The detailed results of each component are presented in chapters 1‒4 in this report.

OAN has a combination of unique biogeographical features, offering one of the best savannah habitats for ecological study in northern Kenya. Both the lowest and highest points in Laikipia County are found within the conservancy. Engelesha Hill rises to 2400m while the mouth of the Mukutan Gorge drops to 1260m. This sharp altitudinal gradient (1140m), proximity to the eastern wall of the Great Rift Valley, expansive land cover and unique vegetation composition are perhaps the reasons behind Ol Ari Nyiro’s species richness. OAN covers 400 km2, all of which has been dedicated to nature conservation for the last 17 years since cattle ranching was abolished. This management approach and spatial variability of habitats contributes positively to OAN’s biological richness. The spatial variability of species richness has traditionally been based on data obtained from sparse point samples. According to Oindo & Skidmore (2002), ecologists have hypothesized that net primary productivity (NPP) and actual evapotranspiration (AET) can be used as indirect measures of species richness. Therefore, local spatial variability of NPP and AET, translating to habitat heterogeneity, are the major factors influencing species richness in OAN.

A total of 29 new records species records were documented in the current survey including one (1) snake, seven (7)invertebrates and 21 plants. The East African Shovel Snout (Prosymna stuhlmanni) occurs predominantly in the African coastline from Somalia to the Republic of South Africa (0-5500 ft.). In Kenya the species occurs inland up to Chyulu Hills with an isolated population in the hinterland on the eastern brink the Rift Valley at OAN. The new plant species recorded as new to the existing plant list include Cayratia ibuensis being recorded for the first time in the K3 floral region. Other species such as Bowiea volubilis and Aristea abyssinica were re-discovered after nearly 50 years.

Currently, more 2100 different species of plants and animals are known from OAN. These include 14 amphibians (i.e. frogs and toads), 56 reptiles, 477 birds, more than 800vascular plants, and 762 macro-invertebrates. These findings make OAN one of the richest ecological units in Kenya.

The team wishes to acknowledge the support of the entire management of OAN led by Ms. Kuki Gallmann. This assessment was successfully carried out with the technical assistance of the Resident Ecologist, Mr. Enock Ochieng and the Forester, Mr. Thomas Ole Khaichu. The National Museums of Kenya granted the officers permission to participate in the exercise and also provided the repository for collected voucher specimens. The funding of the biodiversity documentation project of Ol Ari Nyiro, Laikipia Nature Conservancy was obtained from The Gallmann Memorial Foundation (GMF).

The following people from the National Museums of Kenya participated in the 2015 biodiversity survey:
1) Mr. Victor Wasonga – Herpetologist & Team Coordinator
2) Ms. Felista Kasyoka – Assistant Herpetologist
3) Mr. Morris N. Mutua – Entomologist
4) Mr. Reuben Mwakodi – Entomologist
5) Mr. Bramwel Cheruiyot– Assistant Entomologist
6) Ms. Philista Malaki – Ornithologist
7) Mr. George Ojwang’ – Assistant Ornithologist
8) Mr. Kennedy Matheka – Botanist
9) Ms. Felistus M. Mwania – Assistant Botanist


  1. Marc Stevenson says:

    Dear Kuki,
    I’ve just re-read Night of the Lions and thank you for taking the journey. I grew up in Kenya from 1958 to 1968 and am still Kenyan in my heart. Thank you for your commitment to the country, the people and your wonderful conservation work, you are an inspiration to us all.
    Asante sana,
    With love
    Marc Stevenson

  2. sophia muthoni kabuutu says:

    Dear Kuki,
    really wanted to know my Dad employer, he told us more about kuki gallmann, Makena and your rate son.
    am working with James Finlay’s Kenya limited as a HR Clerk and I would like to introduce my self to you.
    am a daughter to silas Kabuutu(shiala three)

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