Kenyan Grasslands Appeal
Worldwide the loss of grasslands is having a devastating effect on wildlife. These habitats are being lost to agriculture and development. Surviving grasslands are increasingly fragmented but compared to rainforests, they receive very little conservation attention. This is certainly the case in the Kinangop Highlands of Kenya: a largely unprotected area of grasslands which are vanishing at an alarming rate. Of particular concern is Sharpe’s Longclaw, rather like a skylark with a bright yellow breast, which needs short grass with tussocks for nesting- the Kinangop Highlands are its stronghold. Sharpe’s Longclaw is an indicator species but is seriously threatened by the loss of its grassland home. Studies suggest that as much as three quarters of ‘tussock’ vegetation has already been lost in the 77,000 hectare Kinangop Plateau, causing a real threat to the survival of this species.
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In addition to the protection of the Sharpe’s Longclaw, saving this grassland will also benefit a wide range of other species, many of which remain unstudied. Only this year a new species of frog has been discovered in this habitat and the Kenyan Horned viper is also endemic to the grasslands.
The local villagers have formed the Friends of Kinangop, which is supported by a local NGO, Nature Kenya. And this is where the World Land Trust comes in: We are assisting Nature Kenya buy a strategically important area of grassland consisting of 51 acres, and costing £125,000, by December 2009. The land is expensive but the reason for the urgency is that the price of land, particularly where it is close to Nairobi, is escalating.
This is a modest project, but it has enormous conservation value and is also already acting to leverage other funds and governmental support in the urgent bid to save surviving grasslands.
Find more information on the Kenyan Grasslands Project and sign up to receive project updates on the World Land Trust website: http://www.worldlandtrust.org/projects/kenya.htm.