Sharpe's Longclaw (Macronyx sharpei)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 152510748
Sheep for longclaw: Integrating livestock farming with conservation of Sharpe's Longclaw in Kinangop
The Kinangop Highland grasslands are important for agriculture and are home to unique highland grassland biodiversity. They also provide important ecological services such as water-holding and carbon storage services as well provisioning services such as pasture for grazing. They are recognized internationally as an Important Bird Area (IBA) and host two endangered and nationally endemic bird species i.e. Sharpe’s Longclaw and Aberdare Cisticola among other specialized birds. It is the global stronghold for the Sharpe’s Longclaw.
Traditionally, the grasslands have been used for livestock grazing, a practice which has helped retain the grasslands. Unfortunately, these important grasslands are quickly being lost as farmers reduce the scale of livestock grazing in favour of crop production and only less than 10% of the original of the original grassland cover is remaining. This rapid loss of grass cover is thought to result to a decrease of the populations of the grassland birds that is disproportionately higher than the decline in the habitat.
The future of the grasslands habitat and the populations therein lie on improved awareness, environmental education and active participation and engagement of the land owrners on conservation based activities.
The project aimed to improve the quality of local sheep breed, improve the capacity of local young men and women to in wool spinning and waeving and improve the level of environmental education and awareness.
There is positive change of attitude from farmers who benefited from the sheep breed improvement scheme. The scheme involved providing high qaulity rums to 5 farmers. For a farm to qualify, it had meet a certain threshold which was pegged on the level of management and the number of Sharpe's Longclaw and other grassland birds. Farmers who did not benefit from the sheep breed improvement scheme are also very impressed by the improvement achieved from other farmers and are already learning the importance of managing the breeding system. The sheep breed improvement model was very successful in underlining the important ecological service provided by nature and most especially those provided by the grassland ecosystems. This has profed to be a very good approach and the model would definitely need expansion.
To build the capacity of local young men and women in wool spinning and weaving, five young men and women from the local community have been trained in weaving (1 gentle man) and spinning (3 ladies and 1 gentleman). Wool spinning and weaving is very important tool that have been successfully applied by Njabini Wool Crafters Cooperative Society as a conservation tool. This is through adding value to wool produced by the local farmers thus increasing the income generated by the farmers and keeping them motivated to retain the grasslands.
Flyers and posters produced are very useful in raising the levels of environment education and awareness.
Project 152510748 location - Kenya, Africa