Another JKUAT Scholar Co-publishes in Nature

The black Rhinoceros

The black Rhinoceros

Another Geneticist from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) has jointly published with others in the current issue of the prestigious globally acclaimed scholarly journal – Nature.

The paper titled ‘Extinctions, genetic erosion and conservation options for the black rhinoceros’ (Diceros bicornis) was published on February 8, 2017. Dr. Shadrack Muya, JKUAT’s Dean, School of Biological Sciences, in collaboration with eleven other scholars, sought to find out whether the black rhino was extinct as declared by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This is following a documentary done in Maasai Mara, Kenya, 2011, on poaching and subsequent demographic collapse of the black rhinoceros population.

There had been fears that the black rhinoceros are on the verge of extinction from the wild within the next two decades due to unsustainable poaching in its native range. During the 20th century, populations were thought to have declined by more than twenty-fold until the mid-1990s, when intensive protection led to a population recovery to just over 5,000 individuals by 2014. Despite a historic range that included much of sub-Saharan Africa, the black rhinoceros now survives  in only five countries; namely, South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Tanzania ranked by total population size.

The study carried out in Kenya, Southern Africa and from the old skins and trophies preserved in various museums in Europe further found that renewed poaching had threatened the recovery, as rhinoceros horn has attained an unprecedented and steadily rising value of $65,000 per kilogramme.

Dr. Muya putting in the work

Dr. Muya putting in the work

According to Dr. Muya, there has been an evolutionary significant unit of black rhinoceros that need to be managed as a unit as it could have a huge potential for tourism.

The other researchers from South Africa, Portugal, German, Brazil, United Kingdom, Belgium and Kenya included; Yoshan Moodley, Isa-Rita M Russo, Desire L. Dalton, Antoinette Kotze, Shadrack Muya , Patricia  Haubensak, Boglarka Balint, Gopi K. Munimanda, Caroline Deimel, Andrea Setzer, Kara Dicks, Barbara Herzig – Straschil, Daniela C. Kalthoff, Hans R. Siegismund, Jan Robovsky, Paul O’Donoghue & Michael W. Bruford.

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Interviews carried by some of the researchers on the same can be accessed through:


In early January last year (2016) Anne Muigai, a Professor of Genetics in the Department of Botany of the same University, jointly with her collaborators from Cambridge University also  published in the Nature Journal.

Dr. Muya's co-researchers tracking the black Rhino

Dr. Muya’s co-researchers tracking the black Rhino

The paper documented the discovery of fossilized bones of a group of prehistoric hunter-gathers, probably members of an extended family who were violently killed approximately 10,000 years ago in Nataruk, 30 km west of Lake Turkana, Kenya.

The Nataruk massacre is the earliest record of inter-group violence among prehistoric hunter-gatherers who were largely nomadic.  The warfare was assume to be probably as a result of a fight for resources, the water food from the animals and fish.

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