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



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

“Kenya Wildlife Service rangers, community scouts and research teams have 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,” a report released on Friday said. . The Ministry of Tourism of the country said.

“Drought has had a negative impact on herbivore populations and especially on wildebeests and zebras.”

About 18 million people have been affected by food shortages in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya due to prolonged drought in the Horn of Africa over the past four consecutive rainy seasons, according to reports from the World Food Programme.

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

In Kenya, back-to-back seasons of below-average rainfall have dried up riverbanks and destroyed grasslands in game reserves, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

“The worst-affected ecosystem is home to some of Kenya’s most visited national parks, reserves and conservancies, including the Amboseli, Tsavo and Laikipia-Samburu regions,” its report said.

At the launch of the report, Kenya’s Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage Minister Penina Malonza said steps were being taken to save the animals’ lives – including digging boreholes and diverting water to dry water pans and dams.

A dried-up cow stands under a dry pan of water in Iresteno, a town on the border with Ethiopia, on September 1, 2022.

“Drought has killed wildlife, mostly herbivorous species,” Malonza said.

“There have been deaths due to lack of food resources and lack of water,” he added. According to the ministry, only 36,000 elephants remained in Kenya last year.

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

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