Sitatunga (Tragelaphus spekii) also known as ‘Inzobe’ in the local language Kinyarwanda, is a swamp dwelling antelope endemic to sub-Saharan Africa. Living in thickly vegetated, muddy swamps, and marsh habitats, Sitatunga are categorised as ‘Least Concerned’ on the IUCN Red list but the population trend is declining due to activities such as agriculture, destruction of their natural habitats, competition with livestock and illegal hunting for bush meat. It is likely that Sitatunga will disappear from many areas if habitat degradation and meat hunting continue.
Earlier this year RWCA conducted a field investigation in the Eastern Province to better understand the threats faced by Sitatunga and their wetland habitats. As a result of our findings, we developed a project to involve communities in the protection of Sitatunga. Creating opportunities for community members to work in conservation helps to reduce their dependence on the wetlands for hunting or other destructive activities.
We have recruited and trained 9 Community Conservation Champions nearby Sitatunga habitats and they will work to raise awareness among their communities, monitor and protect the Sitatunga population in an effort to help restore the population. In return for their work, RWCA is supporting the Champions to set up an income generating farming project to further support their livelihoods.