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Ambassador report

Ambassador report

[Ambassador report] [Biodiversity] How butterflies are helping to conserve biodiversity in Arabuko Sokoke forest in Kenya

by Faith Cherotich | 31-05-2019 23:46 Comments 6 Comments recommendations 2 recommendations

Located along the Northern Coast of Kenya is the Arabuko Sokoke forest. The forest is the largest indigenous coastal forest left in Eastern  Africa and is a treasure trove of endemic plants and animals; the last stronghold for many plants and forests  The forest used to run all the way from southern Somalia down to Mozambique and now only covers 420 square kilometers. Nonetheless, it is recognized internationally as an important bird area and a global biodiversity hotspot.  Arabuko Sokoke is home to 230 species of recorded bird some of which are endemic, 52 species of mammal and a whopping 600 species of plants and trees and also home to about 263 butterfly species.  However, the survival of the forest and its rich biodiversity for a long time was under threat from local people due to unrelenting logging that placed the indigenous trees and the delicate ecosystems that thrive within it on the cuffs of extinction.

Kipepeo Project

Kipepeo which is butterfly in Swahili is a community based butterfly farming project started in 1993. The project was designed to change the local attitude and hence appreciation of the forest by giving them a stake in its conservation through butterfly farming. The Kipepeo project served to engage the locals, who depended on the logging as a means of making a livelihood, in the preservation of the Arabuko Sokoke forest. The forest is the source of the butterflies and butterfly eggs.  Farmers harvest the eggs sustainably and look after them until they pupate. Scientists at the National Museums of Kenya Centre for Biodiversity which is part of the Kipepeo project carry out monthly training with farmers on how to sustainably harvest the butterflies and at the same time ensure they do not interfere with their populations out in the wild. Because the results of butterfly farming depend on the continued presence of the forest habitat, butterfly farmers experience a daily and compelling linkage between their livelihood and forest conservation. The farmers now don’t have to cut down the trees the attitude towards conservation is changing.


Kushal Naharki

  • Kushal Naharki says :
    Hello Faith

    I do hope that you are fine and doing great with your works.
    Thank you for your report about How butterflies are helping to conserve biodiversity in Arabuko Sokoke forest in Kenya and Kipepeo project.
    This is an impressive report and really enjoyed reading it. Great Work !!!!

    Green Cheers from Nepal :)
    Keep writing great reports.
    We are eager to read more reports from you.

    Kushal Naharki

    Posted 17-06-2019 05:57

Rosa Domingos

  • Rosa Domingos says :
    Hi Faith!

    This is truely inspirational and a voice of positive news. It is good to see a behavioural chnage sprout in the farmers. This shows you that will education, skills development and awareness to the masses, a behavioural shift will spark.

    Thank you for showing us this Kipepeo project and the wonderful work that is being down to counteract ignorance, and biodiversity loss!

    Posted 03-06-2019 21:49

Wonhee Mentor

  • Wonhee Mentor says :
    Hello Fiath

    Thank you for letting us know about how Arabuko Sokoke is becoming less and less diverse and Kipepeo project to mitigate this issue. I really enjoyed reading your report as you suggest very interesting solution for protecting the forest. It is amazing that butterfly farming can change people??s attitudes towards the nature and conservation. Thank you for sharing this great example and keep up the good work!

    Wonhee Mentor

    Posted 03-06-2019 21:30

Asmita Gaire

  • Asmita Gaire says :
    Hello faith
    It's awesome to know about butterflies helping to conserve biodiversity.
    Keipepo project, entirely appreciable.
    Thank you so much for this report.
    Green cheers!
    Posted 03-06-2019 14:00

Louis Mentor

  • Louis Mentor says :
    Hi Faith,

    This is a very interesting report and thank you for letting us know about Kipepeo Project. It is surprising to read that butterflies are actually helping to conserve biodiversity in Arabuko Sokoke forest in Kenya, and it would be impossible to maintain the forest with their help. I really enjoyed reading your report and please keep us updated! :)

    Louis Mentor
    Posted 02-06-2019 00:18

Saba Iakobidze

  • Saba Iakobidze says :

    I have never heard of Kipepeo project before, but it sure will change a lot

    Thanks for sharing this small but informative report with us

    Posted 01-06-2019 04:40

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