Across the expansive Taita Plains in Southern Eastern Kenya, rises a majestic densely forested hilly outcrops straddling the skyline near the historic town of Voi. These hilly outcrops, famously known as the Taita Hills occupy an area of about 250 square kilometers.
In addition to being an important biodiversity hotspot and water tower, the densely forested hills form an important ecosystem consisting of a number of forests, home to various animals and rare bird species. Some of these endangered birds include the Endangered Taita White, Taita Thrush, and the Critically Endangered Taita Apalis, one of the rarest birds in the world with only 150 birds remaining in the wild.
Contributing to the decline of these endangered bird species is severe habitat loss, as a result of human activities. Increasing human settlement has adversely affected the forests and bushes where the birds live. “Over the years, Taita Hills’s forested areas have fragmented with about 98% of the original forest being destroyed. This severe habitat loss has put enormous pressure on these endangered birds,” notes Paul Kariuki, Head of Conservation at BirdLife Africa.