Fortunately for the Taita apalis, a range of conservation activities are now underway in the Taita Hills. The remaining forest fragments are being safeguarded by the Kenya Forest Department, while Nature Kenya is committed to conservation in the area (2). An international research project is ongoing, which includes studies into the Taita apalis (2) (9), and conservation actions include reforestation, plans to reconnect forest patches, and the development of alternative income-generating activities, such as bee-keeping and butterfly-rearing. Local farmers have also been taught about responsible agricultural practices, and tree nurseries have been established, to provide native trees for restoring degraded habitat and fast-growing non-native trees to create buffer zones and to reduce pressure on the native forest (2) (6) (7).
A number of other measures have also been recommended, including an outreach programme, the development of management plans for the area, the removal of non-native trees from within indigenous forest (and reforesting with native species), and sustainable forest-use schemes, such as ecotourism (2) (5) (6). In addition, other forest fragments could be assessed for potential reintroductions (2) (9). Further studies into the ecology and populations of the Taita apalis will also be vital to its conservation, and the data from the first in-depth research are already being analysed (7). However, the causes of the latest population crash need to be urgently investigated if this rare endemic species is not to slide further towards extinction (4).