Saving Endangered Taita Hills Butterflies through Growing Indigenous Host Plants.
by Gabriel Ngale, Wildlife Clubs of Kenya
The aim of this 19 months project is to save the endangered Taita Hills butterflies through involvement of local communities and schools in learning and growing butterfly larvae food plants.
Taita Hills is located in Southern-East Kenya and is the only part of the Eastern Arc Mountains located in Kenya. It is rich in biodiversity; butterfly species endemic to Taita Hills include Papilio desmondi teita, Cymothoe teita and Charaxes xiphares.
However, habitat loss poses a threat to the survival of these butterfly species. The project seeks to address this issue through increasing the number of host plants for the butterflies by growing 50,000 larvae food plants in degraded forests and schools, construction of a butterfly cage to train local community and schools on butterfly conservation, initiating a Community and schools capacity building program, as well as establishing a local grassroots network of 100 School Wildlife Clubs.