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Cottages under construction .
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One of the cottages under construction.

We have 32 cottages under construction. The cottages are estimated to be ready for use by early next year. The state of art cottages will comprise of a restaurant, conference hall, a swimming pool, gym, salon and play field.

Snake parks under construction.
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Construction of snake parks is currently underway and is expected to be finished by end of August 2011. This is one of the projects that are going on.

Bibilical mountains

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Mountain of curses.

Bibilical mountains have been completed and all the montains in the Bible are represented. Islamic mountains are under construction and will be completed by the end of September 2011.

GENETIC DEFECTS AND MALFORMATION IN DOMESTIC ANIMALS.

1.0 INTRODUCTION.
Genetic disorders occur in animals, albeit on a smaller scale that few people ever get a chance in lifetime to witness a case .The defects can either be heritable or non heritable. A wide range of disorders are not exactly known if they are inherited or not because insufficient data have been collected and analyzed to enable decision to be made. In addition, the low frequency is largely due to the fact that most deformed animals never get to the reproductive stage or simply are infertile. The animal would invariably be out of harmony with itself and the prevailing environment and would simply not cope with life in the normal sense. Lethal genes tend to be rare because they are self-eliminating.However, a recessive gene may be maintained in a population because the heterozygote has an advantage over both homozygous types.
Most local cultures associate deformed animals with bad omens, curses and other social misgivings. Such animals are therefore immediately killed soon after birth or slaughtered early in life, and hardly had a chance to be seen and the defects appreciated by many. Consequently, such a phenomena are usually received with lots of curiosity and awe. People would travel from far and wide to witness an abnormal animal, and stories that reach distant places would be varied and with different interpretation. The Kitale Nature Trail’s (KNT) perception to offer a sanctuary to deformed animals (cattle, sheep and goats) is one of the unique ideas in this region that would amaze and surprise many. It serves as an attraction, to visitors, local people and for learning purposes for students and faculty/researchers involved in animal sciences. Since disorders are of necessity undesirable, the KNT facility would help demystify myths and legends on deformed animals, and make people appreciate the possibility of artificial selection for decreased liability as a means of decreasing the incidence of the disorder.

2.0. Types of defects.
There are many deformities that would be witnessed in domestic animals the world over.However; this article will limit the discussion to cases that have been witnessed at the KNT:

• Extra appendages and organs –e.g, extra legs; extra horns; extra eyes.
• Fewer appendages and organs –e.g, three legs.
• Cryptorchidism-this is a sex-limited defect to males only. It is the failure of the testicle(s) to descend from the abdominal cavity through the inguinal can into the scrotal sac. It can affect one (i.e; unilateral) or both (i.e, bilateral) testis. The condition may be considered as an arrestment in the normal sex differentiation.
• Hermaphrodism (intersexuallity)-the animal possess both sex organs (i.e., male and female) that that are usually incomplete. The individuals have various have mixtures of males and female .It results probably due to a disturbed balance between male and female determining genes. There can be chromosomomal intersex or phenotypic intersexes.
• Freemartins-refers to females born co-twin to a male and are sterile. It is more common in cattle than in other species. The major defects are the gonads-at one extreme end, the gonads sometimes develop into miniature testes-in most cases, the result is that one or more gonads are classifieds as ovatestes, containing both ovarian and testicular tissue. The external genitalia are usually the same as those for normal females except for the clitoris, which is often enlarged.
• Non-functional teats –e.g, inverted nipples; vestigial teats.
• Facial deformation-e.g., twisted facial bones.
• Hyperplasia –underdevelopment of genitalia.

3.0. Causes and detection of genetic detects.
Causes
It may be currently difficult to caterigorically point out the causes of deformities in the KNT sanctuary.However, the situation may gradually improve if more studies are conducted, a situation KNT can position itself to make a significant contribution. In general some of the deformities witnessed could result from a number of factors, viz:
• Inbreeding-is the mating of closely related animals than the average of the population (i.e., the mating of individuals that are more closely related than would occur under random mating).It is important in the control of inherited diseases. It is that the two genes present at a locus in that individual are identical by descent. Inbreeding decreases the frequency of heterozygotes and tends to bring harmful recessive genes out into the open, in the form of homozygotes.Many harmful recessive genes are lethal, and therefore inbreeding increases the frequency of embryonic death (spontaneous abortions )and stillbirths.However,animals can survive to varying stage(ages)of life.
• Mutations –some radiation in the environment could cause harm to genes, resulting in a sudden a heritable change in the genetic makeup of the individual-e.g, deletions; insertions.
• Hormonal imbalances.

Detection of defects.
Some of the means used to identify defects in animal populations include clinical screening, pedigree analysis, test-matings, bio-chemical screening and use of Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) markers. The important point to realize is the limitations of the methods used for detection of the genetic defects. For instance, test-matings require considerable effort, costs and time. Where encountered, the most widespread options entail mating the prospective parent with:

• Homozygotes for the recessive allele,
• Known heterozygotes
• Progeny of the prospective parent or
• A random sample of the population.

4.0. Implication of deformities
In most cases, genetic defects are undesirable, and should be discouraged as much as possible. When dealing with deformed animals, animal welfare matters and ethical considerations come to the fore, and may often overshadow all other issues. It is therefore important to tackle these subjects so that the animals that are clearly ill-adapted to the environment are conserved otherwise (i.e, in non- life forms). It is also necessary to follow-up on the source of the deformed animals and check if there is a higher concentration in a particular area(s).If so, the breeding practices of the communities, and mineral deposits of the area may require further studies to find out if they play a role in the appearance of the defects.
Design of breeding programmes and advice on animal breeding would benefit from studies on KNT’s source of deformed animals. Issues that would require attention include community-based breeding programmes;appropriate extension messages to the farmers e.g. ,use of progeny-tested males, avoidance of inbreeding – by avoiding matings between related individuals and maintaining high effective population size,i.e the numbers of individuals in population in order to reduce the rate of inbreeding, design of mating systems,etc.

5.0. Conclusions and suggestions.
Whereas it may seem weird to have a sanctuary for deformed animals, it provides a good opportunity as a source of cash from visitors to the sanctuary and as learning resource.
The key issue that requires attention includes animal welfare and ethical as well as moral considerations. The idea of KNT can not be wished away to an extent that we avoid appreciate the bold step taken by it to preserve this rare occurrences and therefore be, for the first time, a reference point for interested and curious people from within and outside Kenya.
Considering the invariably ill-adapted nature of deformed animals, and consequently their often short-lifespan long consideration is to look for ways and means to preserve the bodies of animals that succumb to death in the process of life. Creation of a museum within KNT for the storage of these specimens is highly recommended.
(NB/: This article is continually under revision in line with the developments at the Nature Trail; the next issue will therefore have more information and will include photographs of the animals with deformities).


~END~
Brief prepared for the Kitale Nature Conservancy Trail,
By
Dr.Isaac Sanga Kosgey and ph.D.
Animal Scientist/Animal Breeder and Geneticist Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University,
P.o Box 536, 20107, NJORO, Kenya.
(December, 2004)

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Cottages and snake parks under contruction.


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Kitale Nature Conservancy is located within Kitale Municipality, on the Kitale-Lodwar road on the Western part of Kenya and is situated

God created planet earth. He breathed life into it in the form of flora and fauna. He also created life support systems which are air, water and soil.

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