In early November, David travelled to Boni Forest, a protected area located along the Kenya-Somali border, to conduct environmental monitoring and assessment surveys alongside a team led by National Museums of Kenya. For two weeks, the group, which included David, Fleur Ng’weno of Nature Kenya, as well as Simon Musila and others from NMK, spent their days trekking through the bush in search of important fauna. During this period, they successfully surveyed the following areas: Kibotho, Sankuri, Mangai, Boni, Dondori Creek, Kiboni, Banahalisi, Kombunu, and Jilokonathi.
According to David, the ecology of Boni Forest is fairly different from that of Arabuko Sokoke Forest, with a more patchy distribution of forest cover, interspaced with stands of Croton shrubs and palms. White, sandy soil predominates the region. While Boni Forest faces similar challenges as ASF—in terms of encroachment and heavy use by forest-adjacent human populations—David and the group were pleased to see large numbers of resident mammals, such as the Adder’s Duiker and the Boni Shrew, something that is increasingly rare in ASF and an indication that the ecosystem is thriving despite all the human activity.
For David, the highlight of the trip came in the form of two birds the group came across, neither of which he nor Fleur (both very experienced birders) were able to identify. David described this as absolutely exhilarating. Also, aside from the fauna of Boni, David found the human community particularly kind, and quickly made friends with many of them. The future holds some exciting prospects for David—already a visiting birder has expressed interest in returning to Boni Forest with David to help identify the two unknown bird species, and several of his new friends from the local community have requested that he return to teach them more about birds, other wildlife, and conservation.
Back in Gede, David has resumed his weekly surveys and monitoring activities within ASF. He remains as enthusiastic as ever…if not slightly more than usual, reinvigorated by the trip to Boni Forest.