Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Kenyan Grasslands Appeal

Sharpe's Longclaw

Located in Kenya’s Central Province, the Kinangop Grasslands cover an area of 190,200 acres (77,000 hectares) across the Kinangop Plateau, bounded by the forests of the Aberdare Mountains and Kikuyu Escarpment to the east and south, and by the Rift Valley to the west. Find out how the WLT is protecting Kinangop's threatened grasslands...

Project aim

Grasslands are often overlooked in conservation as the plight of rainforests dominates the media, however, grasslands are equally threatened. The aim of this project is to secure tussock grassland habitat for specialist species such as the Endangered Sharpe's Longclaw and many other birds, reptiles and amphibians which make this threatened habitat their home.

Partner:

Nature Kenya »

How WLT is helping

The WLT is working with Nature Kenya to purchase areas of the Kinangop Grasslands to create permanent wildlife reserves. Recognising the significance of these grasslands, World Land Trust partner Nature Kenya has purchased 95 acres (38 ha) and with the support of WLT has secured a further 51 acres (20 ha).

Jackson's Widowbird
A Jackson's Widowbird. This striking looking species is one of the many migrant visitors to the Grasslands. Photo © A. Buonajut.

Biodiversity

Birds:

  • One of Kenya’s 60 Important Bird Areas, as designated by Birdlife International.
  • A Global stronghold of Sharpe’s Longclaw (Macronyx sharpei), an endangered bird found only in Kenya, preferring short grass with tussocks.
  • A key location for the migrant, Near Threatened Jackson’s Widowbird (Euplectes jacksoni) and Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus).
  • Important location for Palearctic migrant bird species.

Reptiles and Amphibians:

  • Two endemic species of frog: Hyperolius montanus and Phrynobatrachus kinangopensis have been recorded.
  • The threatened Kenyan Horned Viper (Bitis worthingtoni) occurs in this region.
  • It is a high priority to identify and study this area as little is known about its species.

Learn more about animals in our reserves »

Threats to the Kinangop Grasslands

The Kinangop Plateau is a largely unprotected area of grassland which is vanishing at an alarming rate. This is of concern to species such as the Sharpe’s Longclaw. Originally, the Kinangop Grassland plateau was almost treeless, covered with tussock grassland and bogs. Now, this habitat is privately owned without official protection. Threats include:

  • Clearance to make way for farmland
  • Replacement of the native tussock grass species for other grasses that livestock find more palatable
  • Invasion of several introduced tree species including Eucalyptus globulus, Acacia mearnsii and Pinus radiat
  • Drainage of the area's wetlands.
Kinangop Grassland
The tussock grassland of the Kinangop Plateau. Photo © Nature Kenya.

The reserve

Leleshwa Reserve

Total acres saved by WLT: 51 acres (20.6 ha)

The Leleshwa Reserve was a significant purchase for the WLT as it was our first funded purchase in Africa. At Kinangop Nature Kenya work along side the local support group Friends of Kinangop Plateau (FoKP), an independent group of volunteers who promote conservation and sustainable development of the Kinangop Grasslands. FoKP raise awareness amongst farmers and the local community of the importance of the grasslands for its species and assist in data collection and monitoring.

Location of the Leleshwa Reserve »

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Tel: +44 (0)1986 874422
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