Boni-Dodori Camera Traps
The Boni-Dodori region forms the north eastern part of the exceptionally rich Kenyan coastal forest ecosystem. It harbours unique and rare species, such as African wild-dogs (Lycaon pictus), leopards (Panthera pardus) and forest antelopes. The area also hosts globally threatened species like Aders’ duiker (Cephalophus adersi) and the golden rumped sengi (Rhynchocyon chrysopygus).
Yet, the area’s importance was only recognised very recently because of its inaccessibility and the lack of scientific work carried out in the region. The nearby Arabuko-Sokoke Forest National Reserve does not cover the area of greatest biodiversity, especially because management of the park has been under resourced. This means that the Boni-Dodori coastal forest is at great risk from forest degradation and threats of development. Urgent action is needed to preserve it, while allowing it to be used in a sustainable way.
Boni-Dodori's biodiversity needed to be understood before action could be taken to protect it. In 2010, the ZSL and KWS ( Kenyan Wildlife Service ), with partners WWF and Whitley Widllife Conservation Trust , set up a camera trap study in three locations around the Boni-Dodori region and in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest National Reserve. Just under 63,000 images were collected, revealing 40 mammal species, including a potentially new species of giant sengi (Macroscelidea).
These findings have fuelled plans for a wider conservation project that aims to continue developing our understanding of Boni-Dodori’s biodiversity, train Kenyan scientists and forestry staff to study and manage the area, and to raise awareness in local communities of its importance. Hopefully, the valuable coastal forest ecosystem can be preserved without impinging on the livelihoods of indigenous communities.
Some of the striking camera trap images showing just how biodiverse the region is: