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Archive for February, 2021

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.


Biogeography of the Egyptian mongoose Herpestes ichneumon (Linnaeus, 1758) in Africa, with first records for Laikipia County, central Kenya

New article:
Dedan K. Ngatia, Paul W. Webala, Mugo J. Mware, Thomas M. Butynski,  Yvonne A. de Jong, Adam W. Ferguson (2021). African Journal of Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/aje.12830

Abstract: The paucity of studies on Egyptian mongoose Herpestes ichneumon (Linnaeus, 1758) in Africa highlights the need for baseline information on the geographic range of this species as well as factors that may determine its distribution. This study presents eight novel locality records of H. ichneumon in Laikipia County, central Kenya, addresses questions on the species’ distribution in Africa, and predicts environmental (climatic) suitability across its range. From a total of 4,822 H. ichneumon occurrence records, we used 4,432 georeferenced records to generate distribution maps, conduct ecological niche modelling, and identify environmental limits for this species across its range with a focus on Africa. 20% of all records originate from continental Africa, including 121 records for Kenya. Despite extensive field research and predicted habitat suitability, H. ichneumon has not been previously reported in Laikipia County. Our niche models, however, predicted parts of Laikipia to be environmentally suitable for H. ichneumon. Similarly, our new distribution maps show extended geographic ranges both in Laikipia and Kenya as compared to the 2016 IUCN map. The eight Laikipia records underscore the limited knowledge for this species, its distribution, and its environmental requirements in Africa.

Full article

Egyptian mongoose Herpestes ichneumon, Tumbili Estate, Laikipia, Kenya. Photograph by Yvonne de Jong & Tom Butynski.