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Leading KWS scientist succumbs to cancer

Kenya Wildlife Service has lost one of its leading scientists to liver cancer. Dr Samuel Ambindi Andanje, who until his death was the KWS Head Ecological Monitoring, Bio-prospecting and Biodiversity Information Management, was buried over the weekend at Ingotse Village in Kakamega County.

He was diagnosed with a hepatocellular carcinoma in 2013. Dr Andanje was treated at Karen Hospital, Nairobi Hospital, Apollo and Medanta Hospitals in India and finally M.P. Shah Hospital in Nairobi where he succumbed to death on May 5, 2015.

Ms Lynnette Muganda, the KWS Deputy Director in charge of Human Capital, in a condolence message read on behalf of the acting KWS Director General William Kiprono, said the world had lost a great scientist.

Dr Andanje put together an integrated inter-agency national biodiversity team that was undertaking biodiversity inventories in various ecosystems.

He was the team leader for the biodiversity inventories and also the development of National Ecological Monitoring Standards for data collection that informs effective management and policy decisions on wildlife conservation.

Dr Andanje led and pioneered the ranger based capacity building on Management Information System (MIST).

SCIENTIFIC CONTRIBUTION

He contributed immensely to the scientific world and was also a member of varoius scientific organizations.

One of his scientific achievements include conducting a study on the threatened hirola, Beatragus hunteri also known as Hunter’s hartebeest that revealed population dynamics and mitigation leading to implementation of species conservation programs, like the Hirola Community Conservancy in North Eastern, Kenya.

He was fondly referred to as a “camera trap man” for championing the use of new technology such as camera trap in ecological monitoring.

Through this technology, he and other colleagues made a new discovery of a new species of Gient Sengi or Elephant Shrew which was thought to be extinct from the remote Boni Dodori area at the Coast that is still undergoing taxonomic identification.

In addition, his research revealed new population of Aders Duiker from the same forest which has triggered interest from researchers world-wide.

Recently, Dr Andanje undertook a unique study on isotopic studies on wildlife hairs and teeth to establish their relationships in time and space during his post-doctoral studies at Utah University, USA. He had more than scientific publications.