To catch you up...






Where are we?

The Tana River forests are located in the southeastern region of Kenya. These forests are included in the East African Coastal Forests biodiversity hotspot. This means that this area is one of 25 different areas in the world containing 6% of Earth’s biodiversity in 1.4% of the land. Biodiversity hotspots are known to support 35% of all terrestrial vertebrate species and 44% of all vascular plant species.

The forests once belonged to a continuous forest which spanned Sub-Saharan Africa during the Pleistocene, 2,588,000 to 11,700 years ago. Through the process of climatic drying the forests are now fragmented and entirely reliant on the Tana River and periodic flooding. The forests range in size with and average of one kilometer on either side of the river. There has been continuous disruption to the forests of the Tana reserve. Poaching in the 1970’s nearly depleted the area of elephants. Forest disturbances are placing endangered species such as the Tana River Red Colobus and the Tana River Mangabey (above top right) in perilous situations.

Dr. David N. M. Mbora, conservation biologist and Professor of Biology and Environmental Science at Whittier College (Whittier, California), has been working in the area since 2000, conducting studies of the two primate species mentioned above and of different ecological processes in the the forests. The communities surrounding the forests have been involved throughout the research, as not to obstruct any right that they have to the land or inhabit/conduct studies on the land without their consent. Also the local community is working to sustain the forests that are left through an initiative called the Tana River Pokomo People for Conservation and Conservation for People (PCCP).

This site has been constructed in hopes of both engaging the interested public in the issues and beginning discussions with fellow researchers about the work that is to be done.

If you would like to get the latest, visit our blog page to
see pictures and read about the work done 2009-2012

Tana River forests and research camp on Google maps

Contact Us:

David N.M. Mbora (

Amanda Edwards(


Photography by: Laura Kennedy, David N. M. Mbora, and Amanda Edwards

Our sponsors: Whittier College, The Rufford Foundation, National Geographic Society, Institute of Primate research, Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation, Dartmouth College

Website Design by: Tatiana Shabelnik and Amanda Edwards


©2010 Whittier College