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30% of all profit earned from ShotsByShema prints/merchandise purchased in June 2021 will be donated towards ongoing work to establish and secure the A Rocha Dakatcha Nature Reserve - a crucial area of forest that hosts several endangered and endemic species in the Dakatcha Woodland Key Biodiversity Area, Kenya.

About Dakatcha Woodland

The Dakatcha Woodland is a 465, 070 acre area of mixed woodland, forest, thickets and swamps along the coast of Kenya. There are also small scale subsistence farms, large scale commercial farms (mostly of pineapple), and open areas used for grazing livestock.

It is designated an Important Bird Area (IBA) and Key Biodiversity Area (KBA). BirdLife International currently lists it as an IBA In Danger, with a very high threat score and a very low response score. 

Dakatcha supports one of the highest densities of endemic species in the world and is vitally important for the conservation of 13 IUCN Red Listed species and numerous other species of wildlife that are endemic to the East African Coastal Forest Hotspot.

A few of the key species in this area that are listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List include: 

  • Kilifi [or Clarke's] Weaver (Ploceus golandi) - Only known to breed in Dakatcha Woodland and nowhere else on earth. Endemic to Kilifi County, Kenya.
  • Sokoke Scops Owl (Otus ireneae- Endemic to Kenya and northern Tanzania. This is Africa's smallest owl.
  • Sokoke Pipit (Anthus sokokensis) - Endemic to Kenya and northern Tanzania.
  • Golden-rumped Sengi, or Golden-rumped Elephant Shrew, (Rhynchocyon chrysopygus- Endemic to Kenya. This is the largest species of sengi in the world. It was only recently discovered to exist in Dakatcha after it was photographed by camera traps set by A Rocha Kenya. It was previously only thought to occur south of the Sabaki River, in Arabuko-Sokoke Forest and the Gede area. The sengi is pictured below.

Dakatcha Woodland is currently undergoing rapid land use change and being cleared for charcoal and agriculture at an alarming rate, with about 50% of the land already converted to farmland and grazing land. With more people moving into previously unsettled areas, poaching (including of endangered species like the Golden-rumped Sengi) is also on the rise. Urgent action is needed to conserve the natural habitat and wildlife that remains before this area's unique treasures are lost forever.

Why ShotsByShema is supporting A Rocha Kenya

For over 20 years, A Rocha Kenya has been conducting research, conservation and habitat restoration work in Dakatcha Woodland, in collaboration with local authorities, communities and other NGOs.

A Rocha Kenya is seeking to purchase at least 10, 500 acres of land to create the A Rocha Dakatcha Nature Reserve, which will safeguard key areas of habitat for the long term.

They started land acquisition in 2014 (buying land from willing land owners) in response to the rapid habitat loss observed, and have already acquired 2,600 acres of the planned 10,500 acres. They have also employed three local rangers so far to conduct daily anti-poaching and monitoring patrols in the reserve.

This 2,600 acres is however still in the form of fragmented blocks, with some large gaps in between them. About $300,000 is needed to close these gaps and turn the secured area into a single block that is easier to manage and protect.

An additional $2,000,000 would then enable the acquisition of the remaining area to complete the 10,500 acre reserve. Many of the land owners in this area have already expressed willingness to sell their land to A Rocha, with some even pro-actively approaching the organization.

Apart from the buying of land, these funds will also cover important conservation activities such as restoring some areas of forest that had been cleared for farming or charcoal, setting up an effective ranger patrol team and continued monitoring of the area’s wildlife populations.

A Rocha is working with local churches, farmers and schools in this area to engage them in habitat protection and restoration, and provide sustainable income-generating activities.

Their track record of trusted relationships with communities, solid knowledge of the natural environment, and successful land purchase in the area puts A Rocha in an ideal position to establish the necessary protected area.

A Rocha Kenya also have a proven track record of initiating and managing various and diverse conservation projects, including:

  • Implementing the Arabuko-Sokoke Schools and Eco-Tourism Scheme (ASSETS), which uses eco-tourism funds to provide eco-bursaries to children living around the forest.
  • Setting up long-term bird monitoring schemes including regular waterbird counts and bird ringing studies; as well as being a lead partner in establishing and implementing the Kenya Bird Map and African Bird Atlas projects.
  • Publishing digitized datasets for Arabuko-Sokoke Forest (ASF) biodiversity on the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) to inform management decision-making, using funding from the European Union Biodiversity Information for Development programme. ARK is one of only four GBIF publishers in Kenya.
  • Contributing to the governance of the Watamu Marine National Park through the Global Challenges Research Fund project "Community Capabilities and Marine Protected Area Governance” in collaboration with the University of St Andrews, UK.
  • Effectively engaging with local communities to help improve livelihoods and increase their understanding of caring for the environment through sustainable living with a focus on restorative farming methods.

Please Help Us Secure Dakatcha Woodland

ShotsByShema is are determined to contribute as much as possible to help A Rocha Kenya achieve this ambitious funding target and ensure that this unique and vital area is secured before it is too late.

Please join us on this important mission by purchasing a ShotsByShema print today. By doing this, you are adding a touch of Africa's wild beauty into your home or office while also helping to save the Dakatcha Woodland KBA at the same time. Every single purchase will make a difference.

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Credits: All images above taken in Dakatcha Woodland during A Rocha Kenya fieldwork. Photographers: Colin Jackson, Mustafa Adamjee, Raphael Nussbaumer, Lars Petersson and Federico Veronesi.

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