By EVELYNE MUSAMBI Associated Press
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Hundreds of animals, including elephants and endangered Grevy’s zebras, have died in Kenyan widlife preserves during East Africa’s worst drought in decades, according to a report released Friday.
The Kenya Wildlife Service and other bodies counted the deaths of 205 elephants, 512 wildebeests, 381 common zebras, 51 buffalos, 49 Grevy’s zebras and 12 giraffes in the past nine months, the report states.
Parts of Kenya have experienced four consecutive seasons with inadequate rain in the past two years, with dire effects for people and animals, including livestock.
The worst-affected ecosystems are home to some of Kenya’s most-visited national parks, reserves and conservancies, including the Amboseli, Tsavo and Laikipia-Samburu areas, according to the report’s authors.
They called for an urgent aerial census of wildlife in Amboseli to get a broader view of the drought’s impact on wild animals there.
Other experts have recommended the immediate provision of water and salt licks in impacted regions. Elephants, for example, drink 240 liters (63.40 gallons) of water per day, according to Jim Justus Nyamu, executive director of the Elephant Neighbors Center.
For Grevy’s zebras, experts urge enhancing provisions of hay.