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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.

Lolldaiga Hills Ranch Bird List Reaches 421 Species

By Tom Butynski and Yvonne de Jong

The taxonomy and vernacular names for the Birds of Lolldaiga Hills Ranch have been up-dated using the new (2019) Checklist of the Birds of Kenya (fifth edition). This checklist was compiled by the Bird Committee of Nature Kenya/East Africa Natural History Society. The new Birds of Lolldaiga Hills Ranch lists 421 species. Thus, Lolldaiga Hills Ranch (c. 200 km2) holds no less than 37% of Kenya’s 1,113 species of bird.

Download the Lolldaiga Hills Ranch Bird List here.

We thank Lorna Depew for undertaking this revision.

Lilac-breasted roller Coracias caudata. Photograph by Yvonne de Jong & Tom Butynski.

Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu Uraeginthus b. bengalus. Photograph by Heather Wall.

The Manyara Monkey: A New Subspecies of Monkey Endemic to Tanzania

Thomas Butynski and Yvonne de Jong,
Eastern Africa Primate Diversity and Conservation Program

The taxonomy of the Gentle Monkey Cercopithecus mitis has been debated for many decades, mainly due to the complex and wide distribution of its many subspecies. Tanzania and Kenya, together, support no fewer than eight of the currently recognized 17 subspecies.  In the most recent issue of Primate Conservation (Issue 34, April 2020), Butynski and De Jong review the taxonomy and distribution of these eight subspecies and describe a new subspecies endemic to central north Tanzania, the Manyara Monkey Cercopithecus mitis manyaraensis. This new subspecies is named after Lake Manyara which lies near the centre of its geographic range.

New Red List degree of threat assessments for Africa’s primates

By Yvonne A. de Jong & Thomas M. Butynski

The degree of threat status for each of Africa’s primate species and subspecies was assessed/reassessed in April 2016 in Rome during the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group’s ‘African Primate Red List Assessment Workshop’. In December 2019, the first 122 of these assessments were published (