From trophy hunting to illegal wildlife trafficking, the lives of wild animals in Africa are continually threatened. Tragically, hundreds of them have also fallen victim to yet another hazard, the relentless drought that has been plaguing Kenya for more than two years.
Cabinet Secretary for The Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife, and Heritage, Peninah Malonza, shared the news on Friday in conjunction with the release of the Ministry’s new report which examines the effects of the current drought on wildlife in Kenya’s protected areas.
According to The Impacts Of The Current Drought On Wildlife In Kenya, the deaths of 205 elephants, 512 wildebeests, 381 common zebras, 51 buffalos, 49 Grevy’s zebras, and 12 giraffes have been counted in the past nine months alone.
“I confirm that different species of wildlife have been affected by the drought with a total of 14 different species of wildlife being affected between February and October 2022,” Malonza said in a statement, further noting that the most affected areas include the Amboseli, Tsavo, and Laikipia-Samburu ecosystems. “The mortalities have arisen because of depletion of food resources, as well as water shortages.”
As per Manzola, most of the wildlife died in the months of August, September, and October. The highest number of wildlife deaths due to the drought was recorded in September and October.
“The rhino population has not been seriously affected by the drought with only one rhino aged about two years old having died,” continued Malonza, who warned that, “the continued worsening of the drought condition could affect more rhinos in overstocked rhino sanctuaries,” such as the Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary in Tsavo West National Park among others.
In addition to many of the interventions that have been and continue to be taken, Manzola stated that the Government of Kenya together with development and conservation partners will work to provide finances to destock Ngulia Rhino Sanctuary in Tsavo West National Park, as well as other rhino sanctuaries to prevent any imminent drought-related mortality of black and white rhinos in their sanctuaries.
Kenya Wildlife Service Rangers, Community Scouts, and Research Teams from the Wildlife Research and Training Institute (WRTI), as well as nonprofit organizations, have been monitoring the impacts of the drought on wildlife while also collecting mortality data. The groups have been operating in the eight conservation areas as defined by Kenya Wildlife Service.
Source: World Animal News