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Training of Parataxonomists

Villagers who rely on forest resources usually possess detailed knowledge of forest animals and plants. This traditional knowledge can be developed into crucial skills for biological research. Given adequate training, local villagers can become Parataxonomists and qualify for a variety of tasks related to biological research, including inventorying, monitoring and education, by performing preliminary sorting to species as well as performing simple field and laboratory experiments and observations. They can become qualified field assistants in biological surveys. Their work can result in quality material and data that can be deposited in national collections and made available for taxonomic studies. Involvement of village communities in ecological research helps demonstrate the value of the forest, both in theoretical and economic terms by providing employment and promoting ecotourism. There is no substitute for the conservation value of local people taking pride in their natural resources and teaching others about them.
  • The KIFCON project trained several parataxonomists who promote ecotourism by providing tour-guiding services at the Kakamega Forest. Building on the KIFCON work, the ICIPE integrated project in collaboration with the National Museums of Kenya, has trained some of the ICIPE-KEEP extension workers as parataxonomists.


  • The parataxonomists have been trained in recognition and methods used in sampling different invertebrates (insects, spiders, millipedes and snails).


  • The trained parataxonomists in turn train other community members.


  • Research investigators working in the forest utilize the Parataxonomists as research assistants.


  • The Parataxonomists collect biological specimens under the supervision of staff from the National Museums of Kenya, these collected samples are deposited at the National Museums of Kenya for identification and cataloging.


  • The Parataxonomists work in collaboration with the Wildlife Clubs of Kenya and the biology teachers around the forest.

Parataxonomist Training 1
Parataxonomist Training 2
Members of the community adjacent to kakamega Forest were trained as parataxonomists
 

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