Kenya drought: Hundreds of elephants, wildebeests and zebras reported dead



Hundreds of elephants, wildebeests and zebras have died across Kenya amid the country’s longest drought in decades.

“The Kenya Wildlife Service Rangers, Community Scouts and Research Teams counted the deaths of 205 elephants, 512 wildebeests, 381 common zebras, 51 buffaloes, 49 Grevy’s zebras and 12 giraffes in the past nine months,” according to a report released Friday by the Kenya Wildlife Service Rangers, Community Scouts and Research Teams. according to the country’s tourism ministry.

“The drought has had a negative impact on herbivore populations and in particular wildebeest and zebra.”

The prolonged drought in the Horn of Africa over the past four consecutive rainy seasons has left some 18 million people affected by food shortages in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, according to World Food Program reports.

According to the UN World Meteorological Organization, the drought is the region’s longest in four decades.

In Kenya, successive seasons of below-average rainfall have caused riverbeds to dry up and grasslands in game reserves to be destroyed, the tourism ministry said.

“The hardest hit ecosystems are home to some of Kenya’s most visited national parks, reserves and wildlife sanctuaries, including the Amboseli, Tsavo and Laikipia-Samburu areas,” the report said.

At the report’s launch Peninah Malonza, Kenya’s tourism, wildlife and heritage minister, said steps have been taken to save animal lives, including digging boreholes and transporting water to dried-up pans and dams.

An emaciated cow stands at the bottom of a dried up water tank in Iresteno, a town on the Ethiopian border, on September 1, 2022.

“The drought has led to the death of wildlife, mainly herbivorous species,” Malonza said.

“The deaths have arisen from depletion of food resources and water shortages,” she added. Kenya had only 36,000 elephants left last year, according to the ministry.

In an interview with the BBC in July, Najib Balala, former cabinet secretary for wildlife and tourism in Kenya, said climate change now kills 20 times as many elephants as poaching.

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