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AFRICAN ELEPHANT (TEMBO, NDOVU)
APPEARANCE: The largest living mammal, the elephant´s most conspicious feature is its flexible trunk, a great elongation of thenose, used for breathing, smelling, drinking, seizing and fighting. Its head is large with enormous fan-shaped ears, used as means of identifying individuals. Elephant have highly adapted teeth, with aprominent tusks (upper incisors), variable in length. The tail is of medium length and terminates in a long tuft of coarse hairs. The skin is grey.
HABITAT: It mostly inhabitats forested savannah or forest edges near water owing to the need to drink daily.
HABITS: Elephants are highly social, living in herds of 10-20, led by an old female. Herd coposition varies, but young males growing up usually leave the mother group and join other young males or older bulls. They produce a variety of sounds, varying from a very low frequency rumble used as a contact sound over great distances, to a loud trumpet to communicate anger, as well as blowing throught the trunk and a variety of squeals to express playfulness, surprise or fear. Elephant drink vast quantities of water daily; drawing it up in the trunk and pouring it into the mouth, as well as bathing daily, following this up with a mud or dust bath, for protecting against insects and the sun. They feed over 100 types of plant, putting food in their mouth with destructive feeding habits (even uprooting a tree and collect a view leaves) can cause friction between them and farmers. They are fond of mineral salts and dig out salt from the earth with their tusks. Elephants breed all year around, gestation is about 22 months and their calving interval is about two years, usually producing one calf. An elephant´s lifespan is 60-70 years, althought forest elephants sometimes live up to 80 years. They are highly social animals, helping one another in birth, sickness or injury. At the death of a companion elephants will watch over the body, often covering the corpse with branches. Adult elephants have no natural enemies but lions may attack their young. Unfortunately Man´s greed for ivory has made him an enemy to the elephant, and poaching has poased serious threats to the elephant numbers in many parts of Kenya. #StopIvoryTrade
APPEARANCE: The Bongo is a large forest antelope, rarely seen nowadays. Calves are yellow or chestnut red, while the adult becomes darker with age. The ears are long and broad, the spinal crest black and white, and like the bushbuck there are well defined white stripes on the shoulders, flanks and hindquarters. They have two large white spots on the cheek, bit noo throat spot. The lower neck has a distinct light yellow-white band and the tail is long, its terminal tuft reaching the heel. Both sexes have narrow horn, forming an open spiral, grey browm with light yellow tips. The female is similar to the male, althougt paler, and the horns are more slender.
HABITAT: They inhabit dense moutain and volcanic forest, including bamboo.
HABITS: Mostly nocturnal, they may browse early morning, late afternoon and evening. Bongos are very elusive, and live singly, in pairs or small groups. They have excellent hearing, but are mainly silent, althought their alarm call is similar to the bushbuck. They feed on the foliage of trees and bushes, which they stand on hind legs to reach, as well as some grass and herbs. They dig for roots with their horns and lick salt from the ground. The Bongo´s chief enemy is the leopard: it can run at considerable speed throught thick cover with the horn laid along the back. If cornered by hunters and dogs the Bongo defends itself bravely. Mountain Bongo are near extinctio on Mt. Kenya and that there are only few left in other montane habitats in Kenya.
MOUNT KENYA - BIODIVERSITY
Mount Kenya forest presents a rich biological diversity of species of plants and animals, as well as eosystems. The forest is home to many threatened species including the little knowm Abbot's starling. It also contains a significant proportion of Kenya's highland and forest species of birds, ahigh diversity of butterflies, insects and invertebrates as well as a variety of mammals including six species attracting international conservation interest: Elephant, Leopard, Giant Forest Hog, Bongo and Black Fronted Duiker. Beautiful long-haired black and white colobus monkeys swing throught the branches while bushbuck hide in thickets. Parrots, scarlet winged turacos, silvery-cheeked hornbills and many rere bird species fly between the tretops. Even at a height from 4,000 metres, there are animals and birds including black-fronted duiker, Jackson's francolin, mountain chats, sunbirds, rock hyrax and even the occasional leopard.
APPEARANCE: It is a big, elegant, muscular and supple cat. Its head is broad ears short and round and its legs sturdy. The Leopard´s coat is dense and soft, he upper-side varyig from creamy yellow to brownish grey, its underside white or cream. Its head, neck and underside are marked with black spots, while the rest of the upper-side is marked with rosettes. The tip of the tail is black. Its body is long with comparativly short, stout legs. The female is similar to the male, but smaller and mor slightly built. Cubs have dark woolly fur, the spots closer and rather indistinct. Occasionally a black melanistic leopard is sighted in certain areas.
HABITAT: The Leopard´s territory varies from dense forest to open dry country, and even the snow line on high mountains.
HABITS: They are solitary except during the mating season. Males set up their territory by calling, spraying urine on bushes or trees, and scraching the ground or tree trunks. They generally hunt at night and hide during the day. They climb trees easily and enjoy basking in the sun on tree branches as well as rocks. They make various sounds including a repeated ough sawing cought, snarling, spitting and growling when annoyed and puring when content. Leopard are carnivorous, preying on a wide range of birds and mammals including guinea fowl, tortoises, hares, hyrax, warthogs, antelopes, fish, livestock and especially dogs. If possible they drink daily, but can go a month without water if they have to. Their gestation is three months and they have a litter of 2-3 cubs.
AFRICAN BUFFALO ( NYATI )
APPEARANCE: They are like cattle in size and shape and generally blackish - brown to reddish - brown in colour. their ears are large and pointed with long fringes of hair and their tails long with a terminal tuft. The adult's body is sparsely covered with hairs. Its horns are heavy with a massive base.
HABITAT: Buffalo inhabit dense forest and open plains interspersed with bushes ans trees, as well a mountain terrain
HABITS: Forest Buffalos live in small herds, usually 3 to 4 but sometimes up to 10 animals. In open habitats, they become gregarious, and may be found in herds of several hundred, up to wo thousand animals. Herds are dominated by a master bull, but led by an old female. They have poor sence of sight and hearing but a well - developed sence of smell. They are silent animals except during mating season when they utter grunts and hoarse bellows. Usually nocturnal they remain hidden among dense vegetation during the day, preferably near water. They come out to feed at dusk and during the night, returning to the thickets to ruminate. They feed on grass, but may also browse on leaves, small twis and young shoots. Buffalo often wallow in muddy shllow pools. Their gestation period is 330 to 365 days and they generally have one calf. Buffalo are preyed on by lion, and occasionally by crocodiles when crossing rivers. A lone buffalo can be dangerous to humans
DEFASSA WATERBUCKS ( KURU )
APPEARANCE: This is a large heavily built antilope with a coarse, shaggy reddish to greyish - brown coat. Its coat is covered with an oily secretion from glands in the skin, giving it a musky odour. The sides of the face are lighter and the muzzle dark with a white tip. Ears are rounded, large and hairy, white inside nd tipped with black. The tail is moderatly long with a darker tip. It horns are long and heavy, strongly ringed, and curved. Females are lighter in colour and do not have horns
HABITAT: They inhabit woodlands, clearings, flood plains, and even stony hills near water. They may take refuge in water when hunted.
HABITS: Waterbuck wander long distances from water to feed but are not nomadic. They are gregarious, living in small herds, usually composed of females, young and sub-adults with a master bull. Adult males are polygamous and defend areas in which females may wander and graze at random. Young bulls form small herds by themselves. They are almost entirely grazers but also feed on some foliage. They are generally silent with a poorly developed sense of smell. Their enemies are lions and leopard, although their peculiar scent and tough flesh makes them a less favourite choice of prey.
OLIVE BABOON ( NYANI )
APPEARANCE: The babon is a heavy, thickest monkey, greyish or olive brown with a well - developed mane in old males. Its profile is long and dog like. The tail is carried in a loop, the base being held upright. The buttock area is hairless the female is smaller than the male.
HABITAT: Baboons inhabit a wide range of territory from open plains near rees or rocky outcrops to forest. They are terrestrial and arboreal.
HABITS: Baboons are grgarious and diurnal, feeding on grass, berries seeds, leaves, roots, barks, insects, fish, birds and the young of small antelopes. Mutual grooming plays a major role in forming and maintaining bonds, and is also used to comfort, befriend and reward one another. It is relaxing while it keeps them clean and clear of parasites. Their gestation period is 6 months and a single baby is born wich clings to its mother's stomach, later moving to her back while she continues her daily activities. Baboons can live for 20 - 30 years. Their predtors include leopards, and less commonly crocodiles and pythons.
ROCK HYRAX ( PIMBI )
APPEARANCE: These are small, thickset, tail - less animals often seen sunbathing on rocks. They have short, rough brown hair, a spot above the eye and a dorsal patch of yellowish-white hair, not always conspicuous.
HABITAT: They inhabitat rocky places, plains, forests and mountains up 5500m. Hyraxes live in trees or rocks and are excellent cimbers.
HABITS: They are gregarious, living in colonies. They hide in holes in forest trees or among rocky cracks and crevasses. Their sences of hearing and sight are very keen and amongst vocal sounds they utter a long drawn out piercing scream. They are active by day and night, feeding on grass, herbs and leaves. Their gestation period is 7-8 months and the young are highly active after birth.
Large snakes, leopards, jackal and birds of prey all prey on hyrax.
MOUNT KENYA - VEGETATION ZONES
Mount Kenya forest zone is the largest indigenus forest remaining in Kenya. It measures about 194,400 hectares: 80,000 hectares of bamboo and 114,400 hectares of other forest cover. Most of it is National Reserve and only small fragments of the forest lie within the National Park.
Climbing the steep of Mount Kenya, the temperature drops as the scenery changes dramatically from the savannah grasslands at its base to forest of tall, broad-leafed trees on the lower mountain slopes. Higher up the forest is dominated by podocarpus and cedar trees.
Over 3,000 metres there is a beld of bamboo and higher still thinner forest with moss-covered hagenia trees and hypericum.
Finally above 4,000 metres lies the alpine zone where less rain falls and there is frost at night. Giant lobelias and groundsels grow in damp, rocky ground. Helichrysum, or everlasting flowers spread themselves over this heath land, as do the tussocks of spiky grass.
Above 5,000 metres the landscape is bleak and dramatic: bare rocks and snow, glaciers and tarns.
RED HOT POKER
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