Ethno-ornithology as an opportunity for community participation in bird conservation and sustainable use.

Mercy N. Muiruri Moi University, Kenya
Patrick Maundu National Museums of Kenya and Henry Saitabau Nairobi University, Kenya

Author: Mercy N. Muiruri; Patrick M. Maundu and Henry Saitabau

Bird habitats are increasingly under threat from a number of fronts. In Kenya, a high cultural diversity, represented by over 55 linguistically distinct indigenous community groups, poses a great potential in promoting sustainability by strengthening indigenous knowledge and practices that support conservation.  Indigenous knowledge about birds can provide us with more tools for conservation. A community culture may have positive or negative impact upon the survival of affected species, and hence is of relevance to conservation.  The loss of habitat shrinking populations of bird species is of global concern. Conservation should not, however, be carried out in isolation from people’s livelihoods. The two are often in conflict and therefore a subtle balance of the two has to be found. Ethno -ornithology offers us an opportunity to arrive at a win-win situation, where we achieve conservation but also increase livelihood opportunities for people.