Kenyan drought: hundreds of elephants, wildebeest and zebra killed



CNN

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

“Kenya Wildlife Service Rangers, community scouts and research teams counted the deaths of 205 elephants, 512 wildebeest, 381 common zebra, 51 buffalo, 49 Grevy’s zebra and 12 giraffe in the last nine months “, the report published on Friday. said the country’s Ministry of Tourism.

“The drought has negatively affected populations of herbivores and especially wildebeest and zebra.”

Prolonged drought in the Horn of Africa over the past four consecutive rainy seasons has left an estimated 18 million people affected by food shortages in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, according to reports from the World Food Programme.

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

In Kenya, consecutive seasons of below-average rainfall have dried up riverbeds and destroyed grasslands in game reserves, according to the tourism ministry.

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

Launching the report, Kenya’s Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage, Peninah Malonza, said measures were being taken to save the animals’ lives, including digging holes and transporting water to dried up reservoirs and dams .

An elephant keeper rests next to a one-month-old calf at the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary in Samburu, Kenya on October 12, 2022.

On September 1, 2022, an emaciated cow lies at the bottom of a dry water pan in Iresteno, a town on the border with Ethiopia.

“The drought has led to wildlife mortality, mainly herbivorous species,” Malonza said.

“The deaths have arisen due to depletion of food resources and water scarcity,” he added. According to the ministry, Kenya had only 36,000 elephants left last year.

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

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