Zoology department

The Department of Zoology within the Directorate of Research and Collections is a department currently organized into six Sections: Ornithology, Mammalogy, Invertebrate Zoology, Ichthyology, Herpetology, and Osteology. Each section holds specimen collection of the respective taxonomic groups and a number of research programs are run within each section.


To collect, document, preserve, study and present Kenya’s past and present natural heritage, and enhance knowledge, appreciation, respect, management and use of these resources for the benefit of Kenya and the world.

Main Aim

The main objective of Zoology Department is to enhance the conservation of irreplaceable biodiversity (invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians, fishes, birds and mammals) through conducting action-oriented research, taxonomic studies, monitoring, training, documenting and disseminating information on faunal biodiversity and their habitats and managing Kenya’s priceless collection of faunal natural heritage. To this end, Zoology Department holds collections of international repute and importance in Ornithology, Mammalogy, Invertebrate, Ichthyology, Herpetology, and Osteology sections, and has been at the fore front of African research in these fields.

The department collaborates with other national and international institutions and professionals in order to enhance quality of scientific results. The Zoology Department presently has sixty staff: 37 researchers, 21 technicians, and four support staff. In addition, there are 8 research fellows. Each Section has its own staff who in addition to implementing the department’s research programs, also actively build and curate collections, train graduate and undergraduate students, develop exhibits and other public programs, and serve the diverse needs of the public and scientific communities.

Collection Management (Curation)

Our natural history collections is one of the most extensive natural history collections within the continent, contains materials covering important groups within the animal kingdom. Our specimen collection boasts over 2 million invertebrates, 30,000 bird study skins, mammals (21,000), fish (43,000), reptiles and amphibians (30,000).

The Zoology Department also manages Kenya’s priceless collection of wet tissues, blood, nests, eggs, and skeletons (12,000) and is rated as the best in Africa. Our reference collections are used by researchers from all over the world for taxonomical studies (including DNA studies), medical studies, agricultural studies, forensic sciences, and for reference by researchers, visiting students, tourists and artists. The collection is also a depository for collections from other parts of Africa

Research and Monitoring

Zoology Department is involved with research on faunal diversity including the identification of species and ecosystems in Kenya and the sustainable monitoring of biological components of biodiversity. The Zoology department develops and implements research in a range of aspects of the science of faunal biodiversity management and conservation. In collaboration with many national and international institutions, the department runs a busy schedule of research programs, mainly on threatened species and their habitats.

These research programmes are as a result of global challenges such as those highlighted by Millennium Development Goals, Conservation of Biological Diversity (CBD), and International Agreements for Sustainable Use and Conservation of Natural resources and the Environment. Research results from the department also contributes to internal conventions and agreements e.g. the CITES, Ramsar, CBD etc that aim at protecting our ecosystems through various programs.

Education, Training, Public Awareness and Information Dissemination

The Zoology Department provides specialized training at several levels to strengthen the national capacity to conduct zoological research work and to acquire, process, store and disseminate information on biodiversity to the public through exhibitions, publications, and specially organized education programmes through its state of art research and teaching. Zoology department also help in contribution of technical skills and information resources to the general public and scientific community. The department assists in the development of exhibitions at the Nairobi National Museums and elsewhere both in the country and world at large.

Herpetology Section

Herpetology section houses the national reference collection for reptiles (crocodiles, tortoises, terrapins, marine turtles, lizards,

Ichthyology Section

The Ichthyology section was established in 1997 with a vision to develop and curate substantial reference collections East African

The Invertebrates Zoology Section

The Invertebrates Zoology Section houses and deals with animals belonging to seven main groups (phylum): mollusks, roundworms,

The Mammology Section

There are more than 380 mammal species in Kenya. The Mammology Section serves as the national repository and reference center for

Ornithology Section

The Ornithology Section is a leading center for Ornithological research in Kenya and Africa. The section aims to contribute

Osteology Section

Osteology is a section in the Zoology Department that collects and