Hundreds of animals have died in Kenyan wildlife preserves during East Africa’s worst drought in decades. Hundreds of animals, including elephants and endangered Grevy’s zebras, have died in Kenyan wildlife 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.

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 litres (63.40 gallons) of water per day, according to Jim Justus Nyamu, executive director of the Elephant Neighbour’s Center.

The toll on wildlife in Kenya, where tourism contributes about 10 per cent of the economic output and employs over 2 million people, comes just days before the start of the UN climate conference COP27.

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.

Host country Egypt has made the issue of “loss and damage”, compensation for losses from climate-related disasters, a focus of the talks.

Although it has been debated for years, the issue has never been part of the UN talks’ formal agenda.

Wealthy countries have resisted creating a funding mechanism that could suggest liability for historic climate damages.

The areas to the north and south of Kenya are most affected by the drought and are also home to the bulk of Kenya’s elephant population.

Last month, charity Save the Elephants said that one famed calf, well-known for being a twin, a rarity for elephants, died during the drought.

The ministry recommended providing vulnerable wildlife groups with water, salt licks, and food and to increase monitoring and data collection.

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Piers Potter


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