Kenya’s worst drought in 40 years has caused not only horrendous human suffering, but also taken a heavy toll on its wildlife, with the wildebeest and zebra populations among those worst affected.
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According to Bloomberg, at least 512 wildebeest, 381 common zebra, 205 elephants, 49 Grevy’s zebra and 51 buffalo are among the animals to have died due to the lack of water, a study undertaken by several Kenyan state agencies shows.
While carnivores are usually less impacted by drought, they ultimately suffer from reduced prey populations long after droughts end, according to a report released on Friday by the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage.
Tourism the third-biggest earner in Kenya
“The drought continues to worsen as days pass, as evidenced by the upwards trend of wildlife mortality between February and October 2022,” the ministry said in the report.
“Urgent and immediate provision of water as well as salt licks are required in the most-affected ecosystems.”
The Amboseli, Tsavo and Laikipia-Samburu areas, home to 65% of Kenya’s elephant population, are among the hardest hit by the drought.
Tourism is Kenya’s third-biggest foreign-exchange earner after remittances and agricultural exports, with many visitors attracted by the country’s game parks.
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