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Principle Investigator Prof. James M. Mbaria, Department of Public Health, Pharmacology & Toxicology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, College of Agriculture & Veterinary Sciences University of Nairobi. Members of the research team and affiliation. Other partnerships created.

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Principle Investigator

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Principle investigator

Principle Investigator

Prof. James M. Mbaria, Department of Public Health, Pharmacology & Toxicology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, College of Agriculture & Veterinary Sciences University of Nairobi

Members of the research team and affiliation

Members of the research team and affiliation

Other partnerships created

Other partnerships created

  • National Museums of Kenya

  • Hotels and lodges( Crater lake, Elementaita)

  • Endangered Wildlife Trust

  • Johannesburg Zoo

  • Parys Crane Breeding Facility, Free State, SA

  • Hlatikulu Crane and Wetland Sanctuary

  • Karkloof Conservation Centre

Project overview

Project overview

  • Wildlife is a heritage of national priority for South Africa and Kenya.

  • Environmental contaminants are a recognized threat to wildlife.

  • Ecotoxicological studies in South Africa and Kenya are infrequent, though sources of contaminants exist in both countries.

  • Wildlife, including birds, serve as indicators of environmental health.

Principle investigator

This is an exploratory study on environmental contaminants that could lead to extinction of the Lesser flamingos and Wattled crane

Principle investigator

Status under IUCN(International Union for Conservation of Nature) and CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species)



  • Identify the chemical pollutants; determine the epidemiology of the pollution, source, means of spread, and affected tissues; determine the ecotoxicological effects of the pollution of the above, characterize and quantify the pollutants.

  • Build research partnerships and capacity in the field of ecotoxicology among scientists in Kenya and South Africa with the larger goal of developing a monitoring program of environmental contaminants to understand the effects of pollutants on wildlife and humans and raise awareness of contaminate-related issues for wildlife and humans.  

  • Assess environmental contaminants in avian species of high national priority and socio-economic importance to identify threats to wildlife. A broad spectrum analysis of heavy metals, pesticides, and PCBs will be measured in eggs and tissues of the selected focal species: Lesser Flamingo (Phoenicopterus minor) and Great White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus) in Kenya and Wattled Crane (Bugeranus carunculatus) in South Africa.

Expected outputs

Expected Outputs

  • Publish and distribute results to interested parties to better inform conservation initiatives.

  • Contribute data for research related to completion of degrees of participating students

  • Formation of a cooperative research relationship between international partners to address local conservation needs.

  • Generate protocols for collecting, storing, and analyzing samples from focal species in Kenya and South Africa for future ecotoxicological studies. Information will address gaps in knowledge identified from surveys.

  • Build a knowledge base to be used towards continued study and strengthened conservation efforts of African wildlife species of high conservation concern.

  • Foster local and regional understanding of the impact of environmental contaminants of all inhabitants of the local ecosystem, including humans

Project field activities south africa

Project field activities South Africa

  • Above: Kenya and SA research team being being introduced to pellet feeds fed on cranes at Parys Breeding centre.

  • Below: Kenyan PI discussing the project with Mananger , Parys breeding centre, SA. This was followed by collection of feathers and faecal samples.

Project field activities in south africa

Project field activities in South Africa

  • Above: Kenyan and SA research team being introduced to cranes habitat at Hlatikulu crane and wetland sanctuary as well as being guided to see cranes in the wild.

  • Below: Kenyan PI discussing the project with a scientist from Endangered wildlife trust at Karkloof Conservation Center, SA. The scientist was incorporated as a key partner in the project.

Project activities in kenya

Project activities in Kenya

  • Above: Kenyan and SA research team being in group photo after the courtesy call to the Principal at College of Agriculture and Veterinary sciences UoN.

  • Below: SA PI being shown the Gas Liquid chromatographic equipment (GLC) by a technologist( Mr. J. Nderitu) at UoN. The GLC is being used for analysis of chemical pollutants( contaminants)

Project activities in kenya1

Project activities in Kenya

  • Above: Photograph of Flamingos at Lake Oloiden taken during a research trip to the Kenyan Rift Valley lakes. A trap was used to captures some life birds for sampling

  • Below: Dead flamingos at Lake Oloiden (The visit to the lake coincided with a die off of flamingos). Post-mortem examinations were carried out on the carcasses and samples taken

Project activity kenya

Project activity- Kenya

  • Above: The research team carrying out post-mortem examinations and collecting biological samples (blood, liver, brain, muscles, bones) for laboratory analysis

  • Below: One of live flamingos captured for sampling. The bird was later released back to its habitat. Some birds were sacrificed for the study

Project activities in kenya2

Project activities in Kenya

  • Above: A Kenyan member of the research team (Dr. G. Muchemi) and a student collecting environmental samples (water and sediments) in one of the selected sites in the study area

  • Below: The research team pose for a group photo after collecting sample from lake Elementaita in Rift Valley, Kenya

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