Osteology Section

Osteology is a section in the Zoology Department that collects and preserves modern skeletons of all vertebrates from all over the world but mostly from Kenya and East Africa. The collection is used by researchers from various fields such as Zoology, veterinary and human medicine, forensic science, Paleontology and Archaeology.

The collection has approximately 13,000 skeletons. So far 2,335 bird skeletons, 398 fish, 8,713 of mammals and 645 reptiles have been databased.

Research Theme: Human- Wildlife Conflicts

Internship for University and other tertiary institutions students, biannual thematic conference and biannual Museum open days.

The section offers the following services: Forensic services in wildlife trophies, Species identification on collections from archaeological sites and specialized talks to colleges and university students.


  • Dr. Ogeto Mwebi (Senior Research Scientist & Head of Osteology section)
  • Esther Nguta (Research Scientist)
    Research Focus Area: Identification and analysis of Acheological Bone Remains (Fish & Mammals); Morphometrics of human skulls
  • Ben Nyakundi Meroka (Assistant Research Scientist)
    Research Focus Area: Analysis of Archeological bone remains; Identification of game trophies, Long bone Morphometrics- a species discriminant tool
  • Veronica Onduso
    Research Focus Area: Analysis of Archeological bone remains.
  • Maina Mwangi (Skeleton Preparator)

Staff Profile

Ornithology Section

The Ornithology Section is a leading center for Ornithological research in Kenya and Africa. The section aims to contribute significantly to the appreciation and conservation of birds and biodiversity through action-oriented research, training, documenting and disseminating information on birds and their habitats. The section’s activities fall into three main areas:

  • Collection and curation
  • Research and monitoring programmes
  • Education, training and public awareness.

Collection and Curation
Our specimen collection boasts over 30,000 study specimens, tissues, nests and eggs. The specimens date to as far back as 1895 and include a good number of holotypes (the original specimen used to describe the species). The section also stores thousands of egg shells, tissue samples, feathers slides and photographs. Our study specimens are used by researchers from all over the world for taxonomical studies (including DNA studies), by visiting students and for reference by researchers, birdwatchers and artists. The collection is also a depository for bird collections from other parts of Africa.

Education, Training & Public Programmes

  • Nairobi Ringing Group: Bird ringing is a key skill for ornithologists and also an important way of studying bird behavior, survival, movements and breeding success. The section conducts training sessions for aspiring ornithologists every Tuesday morning within the Nairobi Museum compound.
  • Postgraduate students: The section supervises postgraduate students working on research project involving birds from both local and international universities and colleges.
  • Internship programme: With the generous support of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB, UK), the section runs a very successful internship programme for young upcoming researchers/ornithologists. The programme is credited with nurturing the many ornithologists now working in various sectors in Kenya.
  • Fundamentals of Ornithology course: The course was started in 1996. This is a beginner’s course for tour guides, birdwatchers and expatriates. Organized in collaboration with the Nature Kenya and Tropical Biology Association, the course is offered once a year at Elsamere Field Study Centre, Naivasha.

Research Activities

In collaboration with many national and international institutions, we run a busy schedule of research programs, mainly on threatened species and their habitats. The section focuses on research and monitoring geared towards bird conservation. Research focuses particularly on threatened species, the effects of changes in habitats and land-use change (e.g. in Taita Hills forests and Kinangop Plateau grasslands) on various species. We collaborate with and facilitate ornithological research for international researchers whose objectives are in line with our priorities. Ornithology section works in close collaboration with Nature Kenya (the Bird Life International Partner in Kenya) in monitoring of Kenya’s Important Bird Area sites and sharing information on Avi-fauna status in Kenya. Nature Kenya translates research and monitoring findings into action (through community livelihood projects etc) and advocacy.
The section has developed a National Bird Research and Conservation strategy for Kenya document. In the document Ornithology Section’s main research themes include:

  • Ecology and status of threatened birds in fragile habitats
  • Habitat restoration for birds
  • Birds as indicators of climate change
  • Application of molecular techniques in avian taxonomy
  • Bird ecosystem function services
  • Bird response to anthropogenic impacts and habitat modification including bird communities in changing land-use and landscape mosaic
  • Promoting avitourism in Kenya
  • Birds of economic importance(e.g. pest, game birds etc)

In addition, the section also coordinates major monitoring and research programmes in Kenya e.g. the African Waterfowl Census (see details below).
Major Research and Monitoring Programmes:

  • The Kenya Bird Map (http://kenyabirdmap.adu.org.za). Aims to map all of Kenya’s bird species and describe their status with the help of valued input from Citizen Scientists – volunteer members of the public who are keen to contribute through going birding and submitting their observations to the project. is a joint initiative of National Museums of KenyaNatural History Museum of DenmarkA Rocha Kenya, Tropical Biology Association, Nature Kenya and the Animal Demography Unit of the University of Cape Town and managed through the Bird Committee of the East Africa Natural History Society.
  • Important Bird Areas Programme – In collaboration with Nature Kenya this programme uses birds as a means of identifying sites that are critical for the conservation of biodiversity using an internationally recognized criterion. Species and habitats are monitored by various stakeholders and volunteers – where IBA Status and Trends reports are produced annually.
  • Annual Waterfowl Census in collaboration with the Kenya Wildlife Service and Nature Kenya. This is the longest running conservation program at the section having started in 1990, as part Kenya’s commitment to International water bird conservation. Since then, the counts have been conducted regularly in January and July at key Rift Valley lakes and other wetlands within the country. All counts are conducted by volunteers; people and organizations, and provide much needed data for water bird conservation around the world. The output of this monitoring programme has resulted in the listing of the five Ramsar sites in Kenya.

Ongoing Research Projects:

  • Digitalization of specimen data for our bird collections – Specify Database management System.
  • Natural pest and weed suppression functions by birds as incentives to conserve a globally threatened bird species and enhance livelihoods in an agricultural landscape in Kenya. Funded by USAID PEER grants.
  • The Kenya Bird Map. Funded by the EU and the Natural History Museums of Denmark.
  • Hinde’s Babbler: Demography and the effects of competition for territories on reproductive success (Peter Njoroge)
  • Game bird hunting as an alternative source of livelihood for masai communities living adjacent to Amboseli National Park (Peter Njoroge)
  • Reproductive strategies of the Crested Lark in Kinangop grasslands and Naivasha (Henry Ndithia)
  • Mobilizing local community towards conservation of Basra Reed Warbler in the Tana River Delta, Kenya (Joseph Mwangi)
  • Revision and update on Kenya Bird Atlas (John Musina)
  • Survey of potential impacts of birds around proposed wind farm project sites in South Horr, Kenya (Philista Malaki and Henry Ndithia)
  • Developing bird monitoring programme for forests (Rumuruti, Marmanet and Mkogodo) and savannah in Laikipia (Philista Malaki).

Professional services offered by the section:
The National Museums of Kenya has developed and operationalized an affiliation policy which allows its scientists to engage in consultancies under agreed terms. The section offers the following professional services among others:

  • Curatorial services e.g. for pets
  • Biodiversity Audits
  • Species identification
  • Biodiversity baseline surveys
  • Aeronautical surveys for proposed landfills and aerodromes
  • Avifaunal surveys for development of wind farms
  • Environmental and Social Impacts Assessments (ESIA)

Collaborators & Affiliates:

National Institutions

  • Nature Kenya
  • Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS)
  • Kenya Forest Service (KFS)
  • A Rocha Kenya
  • National Environment Management Authority (NEMA)
  • Department of Resource Surveys and Remote Sensing (DRSRS)
  • Mpala Research Centre
  • Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI)
  • Centre for Tropical Disease Control and Prevention(CDC)
  • Naivasha Owl Trust
  • Wildlife Works
  • Raptor Rehabilitation Trust
  • The Kenya Society for the Protection & Care of Animals (KSPCA)
  • National Universities:
  • The University of Nairobi
  • Kenyatta University
  • Moi University
  • South Eastern Kenya University
  • Karatina University
  • Kimathi University

International Institutions

  • Tropical Biology Association
  • Kunming Institute of Zoology Chinese Academy of Science
  • Biodiversity Research Center; Academia Sinica Taiwan
  • Natural History Museum of Denmark
  • The Peregrine Fund
  • Birdlife International Africa Secretariat
  • The Hawk Mountain Raptor Research centre – USA
  • Smithsonian Institute
  • Word Parrot Trust
  • International Crane Foundation
  • International Historic Research Institute
  • International Universities;
  • Yale University – USA
  • Humboldt State University – USA
  • Columbia University – USA
  • Kensas University Field Museums Chicago – USA
  • Goethe University, Frankfurt (am Main) – Germany
  • Technical University Munich – Germany
  • University of Ghent – Belgium
  • University Cape town (Animal Demographic Unity) – South Africa

Staff List

  • Dr. Peter Njoroge (Senior Research Scientist & Head Ornithology Section)
    Research Focus Area(s): Threatened species ecosystem services, emerging conservation issues.
  • Dr. Ronald Mulwa (Senior Research Scientist)
    Research Focus Area(s): Important Biodiversity Areas monitoring and training, Ecological studies, avi-tourism training & planning, site management planning, ecological impact assessment.
  • Henry Ndithia (Research Scientist)
    Research Focus Area(s): Ecological and immunological studies in grassland birds; avian breeding ecology; avian conservation
  • Phillista Malaki (Research Scientist)
    Research Focus Area(s): PhD studies at the university of Nairobi on impact of land use and land cover change on shore birds in lake Magadi
  • Nickson Otieno (Research Scientist)
  • Johns Musina (Research Scientist)
  • Titus Imboma (Curatorial Assistant)
    Research Focus Area(s): Ornithological field research and monitoring- forest birds, water bird census, ecology of terrestrial migratory birds; Ecology and biology of invasive bird species.
  • Dominic Kimani (Research Fellow)
    Research Focus Area(s): Conservation of grassland and farmland birds; Dry land natural resources management; Environmental impact assessment.
  • Onesmus Kioko (Laboratory Technician & Taxidermist)
    Preparation study and flat skins; Mounted specimen
  • Patrick Gichuki (Technician)
    Research Focus Area(s):Curatorial responsibilities
  • Alex Syingi (Taxidermist)
    Research Focus Area(s): Preparation study and flat skin; mounted specimen
  • Dominic Chesire (Intern)
  • Jacinta Muriithi (Intern)
  • David Gitau (Intern)
  • Washington Wachira (Intern, Kenya Bird Map Project)
  • Gladys Kungu (Intern, Kenya Bird Map Project)

Staff Profile

The Mammology Section

There are more than 380 mammal species in Kenya. The Mammology Section serves as the national repository and reference center for mammalian natural history collections and its focal point for research and conservation of Kenya’s mammal fauna. This is achieved through research, collecting, cataloging, documentation, preservation disseminating and exhibition of mammal specimens. The section also promotes knowledge and appreciation of mammal fauna in Kenya through publication, seminars, exhibition guided tours to visitors and focal field training and attachments. To that end, the section works with local and international institutions, individual experts and students through research fellowships, affiliations, internships, attachments, volunteers and other forms of collaborations.

Currently the department holds more than 20,000 specimens collection dating way back in 1909. These mainly include stuffed study skins, flat skins, taxidermy (mounted), wet collections, tissue samples, of both small and large sized mammals and skulls. Most of the specimens are from Kenya, a few from Tanzania and Uganda and a small collection originated from West African Countries.

Research Programs
As the taxonomic authority of the country, routine work and service of the section is centered on collection-related research and management. However, a wide range of research themes have become necessary as a response to conservation, societal needs and emerging challenges facing conservation of mammal species. These include the following:

  • Taxonomy of East African mammals, particularly the bats, shrews and rodents.
  • Climate Change impacts on ecology and conservation of mammals
  • Ecological survey of mammals in different ecosystems in Kenya
  • Developing Community-based wildlife conservation and research in Kenya
  • Assessment of eco-tourism potential of mammals in different ecosystems in Kenya.
  • Developing species management plans in collaboration with different stakeholders
  • Citizen science public awareness on mammals in Kenya
  • Wildlife hunting and human-wildlife conflicts in Kenya
  • Bio-geography: distribution of mammals species in different landscapes
  • Evolution and Ecology of mammals
  • Role of the mammals in the emergence and spread of disease agents of public health interest
  • Conservation status assessment on mammals
  • Ecology and management of species and targeted populations
  • Monitoring of population and habitats
  • Identification of species and population of sustainable use
  • Indigenous knowledge about mammals
  • Taxonomy of pollinator, invasive and pest mammalian species
The section provides several services that include:
  1. Specimen Identification and reference to researchers, government departments and the general public on mammalian conservation.
  2. Internship Opportunities- Individuals from Kenya and any other part of the world with interest in learning about or researching on Kenyan mammals can apply for internship or research affiliation with the National Museums of Kenya. The applicants will use their own finances to stay in Kenya/ Nairobi City or to conduct their research work, but will benefit from research expertise at the mammology section such as designing mammal research projects, data collection, species identification, planning of field logistics and preparation of final report.
  3. Training naturalist guides to identify mammals, how and where to find them in the world and other bush craft skills to enhance satisfaction of tourists.
  4. Taxidermy is the art and science of preparing, stuffing and mounting the skins or skeletons of dead animals for public display or preservation in the museum for future scientific research (genetic studies, staple isotope analysis, species distribution, identification etc.) Through the section, NMK assist public institutions including office of the president, KWS and other licensed private institutions and individuals to prepare and maintain taxidermy animals for their use as full mount and trophy heads.

Ongoing Programs (2015- 2017):

  • Bat community and temporal activity patterns in and around Arabuko-Sokoke Forest- (Simon Musila)
  • Understanding attitudes and perceptions about bats in Kenya (Simon Musila).
  • Creation of awareness on conservation of bats in Kenya through social media: KENYA BATS CONSERVATION NETWORK (KenBAT), a facebook page (Simon Musila)
  •  Understanding role of bats and rodents in the ecology of diseases of public health concern (Benard Agwanda)
  • Citizen science: improving public participation and access to information on mammals of Kenya. (B. Agwanda)
  • Understanding diversity and conservation status of mammals in poorly surveyed habitats
  • Bio-geography and taxonomy of rodent and shrews of Kenya (B. Agwanda)
  • Invasive alien rodent species in Kenya (B. Agwanda).
Collaborators and Affiliates

  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Field Museums Natural History (FMNH)
  • Bat Conservation International (BCI)
  • Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS)
  • Kenya Forest Service (KFS)
  • Nature Kenya
  • National Environment Management Authority (NEMA)
  • Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources
  • Department of Resource Survey and Remote Sensing (DRSR)
  • Mpala Research Center- Nanyuki
  • Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KEMFRI)
  • Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI)
  • Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)
  • Center for Tropical Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)
  • Local universities: University of Nairobi, Kenyatta University, Moi University, Karatina University.
Staff List
  • Simon Musila (Research scientist & Head Mammology Section)
    Research Focus Area: Bat and Rodent ecology, wildlife hunting and human-wildlife conflicts
  • Bernard Agwanda (Research Scientist & Curator)
    Research Focus Area: Taxonomy, evolution and conservation of small mammals; Zoonoses associated with mammals.
  • Titus Adhola (Research scientist)
    Research Focus Area: Conservation biology of the carnivores and ungulates, ecology of mammals, and Sustainable Dryland Resource Management
  • Richard Yego (Research Scientist)
  • Immaculate Muthoni (Laboratory Technician)
    Research Focus Area: Curation and cataloging of specimens
  • Aziza Zuhura (Database Technician)
    Research Focus Area: Small mammals taxidermy, Bats, Trapping; Rodents Surveys

Staff Profile

The Invertebrates Zoology Section

The Invertebrates Zoology Section houses and deals with animals belonging to seven main groups (phylum): mollusks, roundworms, flatworms, echinoderms, sponges, cnidarians and arthropods. Over 95% of all animal species on Earth are invertebrates (animals without a backbone), with the phylum Arthropoda being the largest group in the entire animal kingdom. Arthropods are characterized by having an external skeleton, segmented body, and jointed limbs/appendages, and are grouped in five Classes. These are: Arachnida (e.g. spiders, scorpions, ticks& mites), Crustaceans (e.g. crayfish, crabs & shrimps), Chilopoda (centipedes), Diplopoda (millipedes) and the largest of them all, Insecta (e.g. house fly, butterflies, cockroaches, beetles& bees).

The main mandate revolves around three core areas:

  1. Research (pure & applied) and field collection of invertebrates within our borders,
  2. Their preservation & conservation (Curation), and
  3. Education, awareness and specialized training for visiting groups on the crucial role of invertebrates in nature, and supervision of students on attachment.

At the core of all these activities is the taxonomic component of invertebrate studies.


We pride ourselves as being the custodians of the largest collection of invertebrates in Sub-Saharan Africa which numbers more than three (3) million specimens. This collection was started in 1908 at a committee meeting of the east Africa Natural History Society (today Nature Kenya) following a proposal to start a collection of animals and plants by Sir Fredrick Jackson who was either then or later the Governor of Uganda. To start if off, he donated a box of butterflies. Materials for the collection were thus contributed by colonial settlers, administrators as well as the early missionaries. The oldest specimen in the collection is a blister beetle (family Meloidae) collected in Tanganyika in 1888. We celebrate the fact that our collection is probably the second largest (in terms of size) after the one in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and the only one of significance in the East and Central African region. The butterflies’ collection constitutes one of the largest and most complete of the African butterflies in the world. A detail of this collection is discussed below.

This collection is an important national resource which also serves as a reference collection for the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa. It comprises of material from terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems. About ninety percent (90%) of the material is preserved dry in wooden cabinets while the remaining 10% is preserved in alcohol and on slides. The entire collection is being digitized for management purposes. The collection is from various parts of Africa with the majority of it being Kenyan.
Part of the collection comprises of type material with several holotypes, paratypes and syntypes. In total, there 2,737 type specimens comprising 441 species (excluding coleopterans and hemipterans that have been sorted into families) from only 11 Orders that have been published(see Otieno et. al., 2014) or contact the Head of Section.

Research Themes

The scientists in the Section and their national and international collaborators are undertaking research in various areas such as pollination ecology and food security, edible insects of Africa, invertebrates related to human and animal health, collection digitization among others.


  • An internship and attachment opportunity for students and for those who’ve completed their studies and would like to have a hands-on-experience in entomology as they shape up their careers.
  • Inaugural short course on “Fundamentals of Entomology’ is scheduled for September 2015, and shall be held annually thereafter.
  •  In-service training by visiting scientists.


  1. Specimens identification
  2. Digital imaging with a high resolution and magnification digital microscope.
  3. Specialized guided tours at an affordable fee.
  4. Consultancies in biodiversity inventories and Environmental Impact Assessments & Audits.
  5. Some field equipment may also be hired (at very special circumstances).
  6. We also regularly respond to the many inquiries on pests control in farms, businesses and at homes.

Ongoing Projects

The Section also collaborates with local and international institutions in research. Current collaborative research includes:

  1. Invertebrates biodiversity surveys in Protected Areas with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).
  2. Invertebrates of wetlands of importance in Kenya with the Government of Kenya’s Ministry of Mining and Geology.
  3. Mosquitoes of the Kenya highlands with Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI).
  4. Pests of Amaranth with Kenya Agriculture & Livestock Research Organization’s (KALRO) “Kenya Agricultural Productivity and Agribusiness Project (KAPAP)”.
  5. Biodiversity (Invertebrates) inventory in Ol Ari Nyiro (Laikipia Nature Conservancy) together with Gallmann Memorial Foundation.
  6. Edible insects of Kenya for food security, improved livelihoods and adaptation to Climate Change (funded by the National Commission for Science, Technology & Innovation, NACOSTI).
  7. Global Pollination Project, A GEF/UNEP/FAO funded involving seven countries and ten national institutions: http://www.internationalpollinatorsinitiative.org/pims.do
  8. DNA Barcoding together the International Centre for Insect Physiology & Ecology (ICIPE).

Collaborators and Affilliates

National Institutions

  • Bee Keeping Station, Lenana, Nairobi
  • Bondo University
  • Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology (JKUAT)
  • Karatina University
  • Kenya Agriculture & Livestock Research Organization (formerly KARI)
  • Kenya Medical Research Institute
  • Kenya Wildlife Service
  • Nature Kenya
  • University of Nairobi

International Institutions

  • Academy of Natural Sciences, Drexel University, PA, USA
  • California Academy of Sciences, CA, USA
  • Department of Ecology, University of Prešov, Slovakia
  • Texas A&M University, USA
  • Museum of Natural History, Madrid, Spain
  • Natural History Museum, London, UK
  • Smithsonian Institute, USA
  • Tsukuba, University of Tokyo, Japan
  • University of Calabria, Italy
  • University of Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain
  • University of Leicester, UK
  • University of Washington, Tacoma, USA

Staff list


  • Laban Njoroge (Research Scientist & Head of Section)
    Research Focus Area(s): Medical & Forensic Entomology; Conservation Entomology
  • Dr. Esther N. Kioko (Senior Research Scientist & Ag. Head Zoology Dept.)
    Research Focus Area(s): Conservation of invertebrates & commercial entomology.
  • Dr. Richard Bagine (Principal Research Scientist)
    Research Focus Area(s): Isoptera; Edible Insects.
  • Dr. Wanja Kinuthia (Senior Research Scientist)
    Research Focus Area(s): Agricultural Entomology; Bio-control; Pollination Ecology; Ecosystem Services.
  • Mr. John Kochey (Research scientist.)
    Research Focus Area(s): Aquatic (Marine & Freshwater) and Terrestrial Ecology; Taxonomy, Conservation and Aquaculture.
  • Mr. James Odanga (Research scientist)
    Research Focus Area(s): Conservation Entomology & General invertebrates ecology with strong interest in dragon flies, ants & tephritid fruit flies
  • Mr. Wanyoike Wamiti (Research scientist)
    Research Focus Area(s): Avain & Wildlife Parasitology, General Entomology; Nature Conservation
  • Jane Macharia (Research Technician)
    Research Focus Area(s): Bee ecology, collection, preservation & taxonomy; pollution ecology; dryland ecology
  • Ann Nyandiala (Research Technician)
    Research Focus Area(s): Environment conservation; Biology & Ecology of termites
  • Mr. Morris Mutua (Research technologist)
    Research Focus Area(s): Beetles and Collembola taxonomy and ecology; General invertebrates collection, preservation and taxonomy; Digital imaging


  1. Mr. Joseph Mugambi
  2. Ruth Achieng
  3. Mr. Reuben Mwakodi

Ichthyology Section

The Ichthyology section was established in 1997 with a vision to develop and curate substantial reference collections East African fish through region-wide fish diversity survey and monitoring work. Collection and information of fish support research in taxonomy, phylogeny, bio-geography, ecology, biodiversity conservation and aquaculture. Studies of fishes involve morphology (traditional morphometrics and geomorphometric) osteolgy and molecular studies in collaboration with the Molecular Genetics department and several collaborators.

The Ichthyology Collection is the largest collection of freshwater, brackish and marine fishes of East and Central Africa located within the continent. The section currently houses over 50,000 specimens of whom approximately 35,000 are fresh and brackish water while 15,000 are marine (Indian Ocean).

The collection contains the type material of three freshwater species described by staff of the section and a variety of unique collections including: Two-headed juvenile shark (Alopius superciliosus), Rare and endemic Pancake-headed catfish (Clarotestarabinii), Rediscovered Coelacanth (Latimeria chilumnae), Yellowfin Tuna which Islamic communities in the coast claim has Qoranic inscription, and the rare Sea Horse (Hippocampus capensis).

Research Theme
Auto-ecological studies on target or indicator fish species (feeding habits, ecology,spatial distribution etc.), Phylogeny and evolutionary bioinformatics and GIS.

The section offers the following services


  • Specialized library focusing on ichthyology and African fishes.


  • Public exhibition of freshwater and marine fish of East Africa in the Nairobi Museum gallery
  • Awareness creation on fishes of Kenya through participation in open day and supporting fisheries department of Kenya in exhibition at the annual Nairobi Agricultural Show.
  • Specimen identification
  • Information on fisheries and aquaculture
  • Technical advice on aquarium development and fish
  • Fish field equipment
  • Support for Samaki Working Group of Kenya (Nature Kenya)
  • Training for colleges and university students on taxonomy and classification and fish curation methods

Ongoing Research Projects

    • Biodiversity Management Program in the Horn of Africa EUROPEAID-IGAD (Inter Governmental Authority on Development).


  • USAID Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER); Capacity Building in Fish Biodiversity Discovery in Kenya.
  • Kenya Wetlands Biodiversity Research Group (KENWEB)


  • Laikipia Wetlands Monitoring Program.
  • Socio-economics Impacts of Agro-fuels in the Tana Delta (PACTER Project)
  • Bar-code for Wildlife Project
  • Lake Baringo Biodiversity Ecosystem Project
  • Mapping of Wetlands- D-R-S-R
  • Northern Rangeland Biodiversity Survey (Water Quality and Fish)
  • Lionffish Project (Collaboration with the university of Copenhagen)

Collaborators and Affiliates

  • Dr. Antonia Ford, University College London
  • Dr. Dirk Verschuren, Ghent University, Belgium
  • Dr. Doug McCauley, University of Santa Barbara, California
  • Dr. Inger Winklemann, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Dr. Modecai Ogada, Conservation Solutions Afrika, Kenya
  • Dr. Olivier Hamerlynck, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, UK
  • Dr. Stephanie Duvail, French Institute of Research for Development, France
  • Fisheries Department of Kenya
  • Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute
  • Prof. Hank Bart, Tulane University, New Orleans
  • Prof. Jean Francois Agnese, University of Montpellier II, France
  • Prof. Jos Snoeks, Royal Museum of Central Africa, Belgium
  • Prof. Tuur Moalants, Royal Museum of Central Africa, Belgium

Staff members

  1. Dr. Wanja Dorothy Nyingi- Freshwater fish boidiversity; wetlands ecology
  2. Dr. Elizabeth Akinyi Odhiambo- Freshwater fish (Taxonomy, systematic and Ecology (molecular and morphological)
  3. Mr. Edward Njagi Linus- Marine fisheries
  4. Mr. Julius Kioko Nguku- Freshwater and estuarine fish (Taxonomy, systematic and fish-base)
  5. Mr. Cornelius Mwongela Matingi- Freshwater fish biodiversity (Taxonomy and Ecology)
  6. Mr. Tom Akelo- Marine fisheries (molecular systematic, conservation and bio-geography)


Herpetology Section

Herpetology section houses the national reference collection for reptiles (crocodiles, tortoises, terrapins, marine turtles, lizards, snakes) and amphibians (toads, frogs, caecilians). It forms an international reference point for taxonomists, conservationist, aspiring herpetologists /students as well as farmers, medical doctors and interested members of the public.

The Herpetology section, established in 1971, houses over 30, 000 specimens as wet and dry collections. Some of the species date back to the First World War (1914 -1918). Most of the specimens come from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and other East African countries. However there are sizable collections from Southern, central and western Africa countries. The collection contains type material (Holotypes and Para-types) for about 30 species.

Research Themes
The section collects and documents herpetofaunal data in the fields of taxonomy, systematic, bio-geography, community ecology, natural history, conservation and sustainable use initiative.

We offer services such as specimen identification, education and public awareness; inspection of reptile farms and parks to offer expert opinion on their infrastructure and welfare of the captive animals.

The section runs an annual training course on biology of reptiles and amphibians to naturalist under the Kenya herpetofauna Working Group who register through Nature Kenya (The East African Natural History Society).

Ongoing Research Projects

  • Habitat restoration for IUCN Red- List Endangered Sagalla Caecilian Boulengerula niedeni in Sagalla hill, Taita Hills.
  • Monitoring the status of IUCN Red- List Endangered Shimba hills Reed Frog Hyperolius rubrovermiculatus, Shimba hills Spiny Reed frog afrixalus sylvaticus and Changamwe Caecilian Boulengerula changamwensis in the Mukurumudzi River Dam riparian zone.
  • Assessment of Shimba hills National Reserve and its environs amphibian bio-geography.
  • Baseline assessment of reptiles and amphibians of Mt. Marsabit forest ecosystem, Marsabit county
  • Survey and monitoring herpeto-fauna of coastal protected areas (Shimoni, Shimba hills, Lake Kenyatta, Lake Jipe, Witu, Boni and Dondori).
  • Biodiversity (reptiles and amphibians) monitoring in Laikipia Nature Conservancy (Ol Ari Nyiro).

Collaborators and Affiliates 

  • Bio-Ken Snake Farm, Watamu, Malindi, Kenya.
  • Prof. Dr. Michael Veith & Dr. Stefan Lotters: University of Trier, Germany
  • Dr. Simon P. Loader, University of Basel, Switzerland
  • Dr. Mark Wilkinson, The Natural History Museum, London, UK.

Staff List

  • Dr. Patrick K. Malonza (Senior research Scientist and Head of Section).
    Research Focus: Reptile and amphibian taxonomy,community ecology, bio-geography, ethno-herpetology.
  • Beryl  A. Bwong (Research Scientist)
    Research Focus: Amphibian ecology and taxonomy.
  • Victor D. Wasonga (Research Scientist)
    Research Focus: Amphibian ecology and taxonomy.
  • Vincent Muchai (Research Scientist)
    Research Focus: Amphibian ecology
  • Joash O. Nyamache(Laboratory Technician)
    Research Focus: Reptile field ecology
  • Justus Ochong (Volunteer, Laboratory Technician)
    Research Focus: Ichthyology & Herpetology field techniques

Events calendar

  • Training course on Fundamentals of Herpetology (a collaborative programme between NMK and Nature Kenya (the East African Natural History Society):Annual


Staff Profile