Drought in Kenya: Hundreds of elephants, wildebeest and zebra are reported dead


Hundreds of elephants, wildebeest and zebra have died across Kenya in the nation’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,” in a report released on Friday. said the country’s Ministry of Tourism.

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

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

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

In Kenya, consecutive seasons of below-average rainfall have dried up riverbeds and destroyed game reserve grasslands, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

“The worst affected ecosystems include some of Kenya’s most visited national parks, reserves and conservancies, including the Amboseli, Tsavo and Laikipia-Samburu areas,” its 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 boreholes and diverting water to dry water tanks and dams.

A skinny cow lies at the bottom of a pan of dried water in Iresteno, a town on the border with Ethiopia, on September 1, 2022.

“The drought has caused the death of fauna, especially the herbivorous species,” said Malonza.

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

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