Phone: +254 – 726 500260
The Ontulili Primates Project (OPP) is a community-based organization situated at the foothills of Mount Kenya, along the Ontulili River, bordering Laikipia and Meru counties, Central Kenya. This riverine ecosystem is home to various primate species, including the Black and White Colobus and Sykes’ monkeys as well as Lesser Bush Babies/Galagos.
Aware of the fact that the primates are reducing in numbers led to the formation of OPP to help create awareness among landowners and community members of the plight of their river and its natural inhabitants.
The profile for the OPP Guardians and Board raise continuous awareness on the sustainable use of natural resources around them, establishes kitchen gardens for women to increase their household food supply, and add to family nutrition and income – an alternative to logging and charcoal burning.
The OPP also engage with the Kenya Wildlife Services on matters related to wildlife protection. OPP engages children from local communities in art classes based on their exposure to more aspects of their surroundings, which promotes their understanding of the importance of primates and conservation of their environment.
Registered as Community Forest Association by Registrar of Societies. Encompasses four group ranches, i.e. Ilngwesi, Makurian, Mukogodo, and Sieku which surround Mukogodo Forest Reserve.
Ontulili River has its source on Mount Kenya and its forests. The River exits into the community area at latitude 0° 2’4.16″N and longitude 37° 8’49.12″E and at this point enters Laikipia County.
The river drains to the Ewaso Ng’iro River, joining other tributaries downstream. The river flows through many different land uses, including small scale farming, large scale horticultural farms, conserved forest areas, and pastoralist land. It is one of 30 rivers forming the upper part of the Ewaso Ng’iro Basin
Major ecological and river morphological changes, including water quantity and quality, velocity, vegetation types and riparian land use occur downstream. Major vegetation types also change gradually downstream, which is a function of changing water quantity and associated changes in water table, changes in rainfall pattern, land use type and existing conservation initiatives.
The indigenous trees dominating the riverine ecosystem include Juniperus procera (red cedar), Albizia gummifera, Olea europaea spp africana (Wild olive), Podocarpus latifolious (Podo), Ficus sycomorus and Croton megalocarpus. Sections of the riverine ecosystem have been cleared for agriculture while in other areas, exotic trees have been introduced.
The microhabitats along the river hosts a number of wildlife species including three, non-human primates, black and white Colobus (Colobus guereza kikuyuensis), highland sykes monkey (Cercopithecus mitis kolbi) and the lesser bushbaby (Galago senegalensis). Olive baboons (Papio anubis) are uncommon on the lower and drier sections of the river.
Other mammalian species found along Ontulili River include leopards (Panthera pardus), spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta),bush pig (Potamochoerus porcus), suni antelope (Neotrragus moschatus), bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus), common duiker (Sylvicapra grimmia altivallis), the porcupine(Hystrix cristata), white-tailed mongoose (Ichneumia albicauda), genet cat (Genetta genetta), and the aardvark (Orycteropus afer).