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Lolldaiga Hills Research Programme

Lolldaiga Hills Research Programme

The Lolldaiga Hills Research Programme (LHRP) was initiated on 1st August 2013. The goal of the LHRP is to maintain....

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Biodiversity

Biodiversity

Although additional surveys have yet to be undertaken, there can be no doubt that the Ranch supports well over half of the species of plants and animals present in Laikipia County.

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Lolldaiga Hills Research Programme

Newsletter

The Lolldaiga Hills Research Programme Newsletter is produced bi-monthly. Visit the Newsletter page to download earlier issues.

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Lolldaiga Hills

About Lolldaiga Hills

Lolldaiga Hills Ranch is a 200 km2 (49,000 acre) cattle ranch and wildlife conservancy. Located 20 km north west of Mount Kenya at an altitude of 1,800 – 2,300 m, the Ranch has outstanding views of Mount Kenya and the Aberdares.

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Lolldaiga Hills Conservation Landscape

About the Lolldaiga Hills Conservation Landscape

The Lolldaiga Hills Conservation Landscape (LHCL) is comprised of four properties; Lolldaiga (ca. 200 km²), Ole Naishu (ca. 125 km²), Enasoit (ca. 17 km²), and Ol Jogi (ca. 210 km²)...

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The Mountain Reedbuck: a Lolldaiga Hills Antelope in Decline

By Louisa Rendall, Tom Butynski and Yvonne de Jong, Lolldaiga Hills Research Programme

The Lolldaiga Hills Conservation Landscape possesses a unique set of geographical characteristics. With wide annual rainfall and a wide altitude range (from ca. 1,700 to 2,300 m asl), along with proximity to the lush and varied landscape of Mount Kenya, the region is host to a rich array of plant and animal species—particularly large mammals. Research indicates that there is no site of this size (ca. 500 km²) in the world that supports such a great diversity of larger mammal as occurs on the Lolldaiga Hills Conservation Landscape. All of the original indigenous large mammal species are present—including several globally-threatened species, such as the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus; categorized as ‘Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species), and Chanler’s mountain reedbuck (Redunca fulvorufula chanleri; ‘Vulnerable’). The wild dog population is growing within the landscape while the mountain reedbuck population appears to be in decline. This raises the question, are wild dogs, at least partly, responsible for the reedbucks’ decline?

Adult male mountain reedbuck on Lolldaiga Hills Ranch. Photograph by Paul Benson

Adult male Chanler’s mountain reedbuck (Redunca fulvorufula chanleri) on Lolldaiga Hills Ranch. Photograph by Paul Benson

African wilddogs (Lycaon pictus) on Lolldaiga Hills Ranch. Photograph by David Parkingson

African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) on Lolldaiga Hills Ranch. Photograph by David Parkinson

Mountain reedbuck are the smallest of the three reedbuck species, but can be categorized as medium-sized antelope. Adult males weight about 30 kg (66 lbs). They have long, narrow, ears which are rounded at the tips. Their snouts have distinctively raised swollen-looking nostrils. Their eyes are prominent and they possess black, subauricular patches which serve as scent dispensers. The upperparts are mostly grey, but the head and shoulders are reddish-brown. The underparts are pure white and sharply demarcated from the sides. Males are slightly larger than females and only they have horns; these are short, black and ridged, curving forward and ending in smooth, blunt points. Reedbuck reach full size in about 5 years.

Mountain reedbuck (Redunca fulvorufula)

Adult male Chanler’s mountain reedbuck (Redunca fulvorufula chanleri) on Lolldaiga Hills Ranch. Photograph by Yvonne de Jong

Adult male mountain reedbuck on Lolldaiga Hills Ranch. Photograph obtained by the Lolldaiga Hills Research Programme in partnership with The Zoological Society of London.

Adult male Chanler’s mountain reedbuck (Redunca fulvorufula chanleri) on Lolldaiga Hills Ranch. Camera trap photograph obtained by the Lolldaiga Hills Research Programme in partnership with The Zoological Society of London.

Mountain reedbuck are found in mountainous areas of much of Sub-Saharan Africa, favoring cool, rocky terrain. They prefer landscapes with large bushes and scattered trees—which provide shade and help them to evade predators—but move into flat areas to feed and drink. The availability of water is an essential requirement. In Kenya, mountain reedbuck prefer open grassy valleys, and the scrub and grass between slopes covered in camphor (Tarchonanthus camphoratus). The species is most active during the early morning, late afternoon, and at night. In the middle of the day they tend to lie in the shade, often close together and shielded by bushes.

Mountain reedbuck tolerate a wide range of climatic conditions. Seasonal activity variation isstrongly related to rainfall, with decreasing levels of activity during the rainy season when food is more available. They are predominantly grazers, and selective about their choice of grasses.

Reedbuck (1)

Adult male Chanler’s mountain reedbuck (Redunca fulvorufula chanleri) on Lolldaiga Hills Ranch. Camera trap photograph obtained by the Lolldaiga Hills Research Programme in partnership with The Zoological Society of London.

Human activities, including settlements, livestock-raising, and poaching are all contributing factors towards the decline of this species. They also have a wide range of predators, include baboons (Papio spp.), martial eagles (Polemaetus bellicosus), cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), leopards (Panthera pardus), striped hyaenas (Hyaena hyaena), and the aforementioned African wild dogs.

Wild dog predation on Chanler’s mountain reedbuck is of particular interest to conservationists involved in the Lolldaiga Hills Conservation Landscape. Anecdotal evidence suggests that there have been sudden declines in the abundance of reedbuck when wild dogs are present. The Kenya Rangelands Wild Dog & Cheetah Project, a project geared towards protecting these two species as well as educating local people about them, is obtaining data on their predation habits. This research may help us better understand the impact that wild dogs have on the abundance and distribution of the mountain reedbuck in the Lolldaiga Hills Conservation Landscape.

DeJong & Butynski - LHL - Mountain reedbuck

Geographical range of the Mountain reedbuck (Redunca fulvorufula) on Lolldaiga Hills Ranch.

Click here to access the mountain reedbuck distribution map and species profile for Lolldaiga Hills Ranch

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  • Species List

    Interested which species are supported by the Lolldaiga Hills? Click here to see our species lists!

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  • Instant Wild

    See what is happening in the Lolldaiga Hills right now. Check out our instant camera traps!

    Instant Wild
  • iNaturalist

    Take your 'bino's and share your Lolldaiga Hills sightings with us! Your help is much appreciated!

    Share Your Sightings