Local communities living near important natural habitats play a crucial role in conserving the unique wildlife found in these areas. Many wild animals in Kenya, including birds, live outside protected areas, in the community or privately owned land. By monitoring the state of birds and their habitats, these communities contribute immensely to tending to nature.
Birds are good indicators of the health of our environment. They are widespread, easy to spot and are considered important in cultures of various communities.
Hinde’s Babbler is a rare bird found only in Kenya. This bird is threatened and occurs in fragmented populations within a 1,900km2 range in Meru, Embu, Nyeri, Muranga, Kiambu, Nairobi, Machakos and Kitui counties. Hinde’s Babblers live in groups, occupying a specific territory in thickets and woodlands in semi-arid areas and moist, fertile land cleared for farming but with fragments of shrub thickets. In eastern Kitui, Hinde’s Babblers live in Mumoni and Mutitu Hills Forest Reserves and surrounding valleys dominated by Lantana camara and indigenous thickets.
Communities in these two sites are undertaking several initiatives to conserve the Hinde’s Babbler and its habitat. Working closely with Nature Kenya and the National Museums of Kenya, members of the Mumoni and Mutitu Site Support Groups (SSGs) have mapped areas where the birds live. Constant monitoring of these areas is ongoing to observe any changes or disturbunces. In addition, the two SSGs are conducting public awareness sessions within their localities. These sessions seek to sensitize local communities on the importance of conserving the Hinde’s Babbler’s natural habitat.
Knowledge of the bird amongst the local communities is steadily increasing in Mumoni and Mutitu. This is exemplified by the communities’ willingness to maintain and restore suitable habitats for the birds. The SSGs are also actively engaged in forest restoration activities.