Mindet is the Ogiek name for Cephalophus harveyi (Harvey’s duiker or East African red duker), a small bovid that lives in coastal, lowland, and montane forests (including Mau Forest) or forest patches, riverine forest, areas with scrub and thickets, and other habitats with thick cover. Its fur is a rich orange-red color with deep brown to nearly black patches on the legs. The face is red and the forehead is black. Both sexes have horns. Mindet are primarily browsers, eating leaves, shoots, seeds, fruit, buds, and bark. Females tend to be slightly larger than males. They have a gestation period of around 210 days.
The Ogiek people, one of Kenya’s oldest tribes, live in the Mau Forest and the forests around Mount Elgon near the Ugandan border. They obtain much of their food from hunting and gathering, and honey and bush meat from the forest are particularly important. Hunting used to be a daily activity among the Ogiek community but today it is mainly carried out during holidays in April, August, and December. Young boys do most of the hunting. In the past, mindet were hunted mainly for household consumption and were an important source of food for the Ogiek community. Traditionally, they were hunted, slaughtered, and then boiled, and seasonings were added after cooking. The meat can also be roasted. Mindet skin was used in making clothes that were worn during initiation and wedding ceremonies, or on a daily basis. The skins could also be sewn together to make mattresses. Beekeepers made mantles from mindet skins, to use during honey harvesting.
Mindet inhabit regions with dense vegetation. Today, they rely on protected forest areas and their population is declining due to deforestation for timber, agriculture, and human settlements, especially near rivers. The overexploitation of this species as a source of bushmeat is also a threat. Some communities have stopped hunting mindet in order to allow the local population to rebound, but Harvey’s duiker is widely hunted throughout its range, often with dogs and wire snares. Beyond posing a threat to mindet, the destruction of forested ar- eas in the Ogieks’ ancestral lands to accommodate agriculture and a growing population jeopardizes the Ogeiks’ ability to manage their land and resources as they see t and as they have done, sustainably, for generations. Much of the forest that remains is in reserves, where indigenous peoples are often not allowed to engage in traditional subsistence practices.