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Nile lechwe (Kobus megaceros)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 222530186

Saving the endangered Nile lechwe (Kobus megaceros) in Gambella, Ethiopia through community-based conservation

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 222530186) - Nile lechwe  - Awarded $10,000 on July 01, 2023

It is essential to understand the distribution, habitat use, as well as the attitudes and knowledge of the local community toward wildlife, in order to create and implement conservation management initiatives. This could enhance human-wildlife relationships and wildlife conservation. The rare and endangered Nile lechwe antelope is found in Ethiopia only (the Gambella region), and South Sudan (the Sudd wetlands, and the surrounding marshes). In Ethiopia, it is restricted to Alwero (Duma) wetland. The researchers  used direct field survey, questionnaires, and focal group discussions to gather data from the study sites and local households in Gambella, Southwest Ethiopia, between February and June 2023. In addition, the researchers investigated the distribution, threats and the main elements influencing local communities’ attitudes toward the Endangered Nile Lechwe (Kobus Megaceros) by using a mixed analysis technique. The researchers confirmed that Nile lechwe is restricted to specific sites, the Alwero wetland (49 km2) in Gambella. The estimated population of Nile lechwe in Alwero wetland was 200-300 individuals. Habitat loss and poaching were the major threats identified;  the communities's attitudes regarding Nile lechwe were 86% positive (129, N = 150), and 12% negative. Respondents with positive attitudes towards Nile lechwe’s associated them mainly with its contribution as economic value (through tourism). Respondents wih negative attitude  linked them to the effects of conservation, on the direct use of Nile lechwe (for bush meat), and effect on the grazing land use. The study  confirmed that the Alwero wetland is the only habitat for Nile lechwe and other species like Shoebill. The reserachers strongly suggest that increasing the awareness of the community toward Nile lechwe, and Alwero wetland conservation is indispensable.

Project document