Worldwide, the Golden-rumped Elephant-Shrew exclusively inhabits the Malindi area. Neither elephant nor shrew it gets its name from its long, flexible trunk-like nose. Also known as a “sengi”, it is the size of a rabbit and occurs only in forest which is now heavily fragmented and reduced.
Long known from Arabuko-Sokoke Forest and Gede Ruins, it has recently been photographed for the first time north of the Sabaki river. The photograph was taken using a camera trap set by A Rocha Kenya’s conservation team. The scientists are surveying wildlife in the A Rocha Dakatcha Nature Reserve, which has been set up specifically to protect the endemic sengi and rare Sokoke Scops Owl.
The Golden-rumped Sengi (Rhynchocyon chrysopygus) is considered Globally Endangered on the IUCN Red List. They are insectivorous animals who prey on earthworms, millipedes, beetles or termites by using their long nose to probe the leaf litter.
“It is wonderful to confirm the presence of this unique species in the Dakatcha Woodlands north of the Sabaki river. Dakatcha is known for its rare birds but photographing the Golden-rumped Sengi in the A Rocha Reserve, makes Dakatcha all the more important for conservation. This species and its forest habitat should be celebrated and protected as much as possible by all of us living in this county.” says Colin Jackson, Director of A Rocha Kenya
The Dakatcha Woodland is undergoing rapid change which threatens its very own existence. Illegal logging, charcoal burning, and unmanaged pineapple plantation expansion destroy and degrade the unique forest habitat. A Rocha, alongside other conservation partners, is working to preserve this landscape against irreversible damage. Research, teaching in churches and schools about caring for creation and engaging with community to build capacity forms the basis of A Rocha’s work.
“I am so proud to have confirmed the presence of this endemic species near my home” Samson Katisho, Community mobiliser, Mulunguni, Dakatcha Woodlands.
There is little doubt that local people have witnessed the Golden-rumped Sengi in Dakatcha for many years but confirming its presence through photographic evidence will give it further recognition in the science world. A Rocha encourages Kilifi county government to recognise the global value of its biodiversity and to include it as an integral part of the county’s development ambitions.