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Kenya records decline of Grevy’s zebras

Friday December 22 2017
Grevy's zebras

Grevy’s zebras in Kenya are becoming fewer. FILE PHOTO

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Grevy’s zebras are still decreasing, results from a recent animal survey show.

The results of the Grevy’s zebra count released by Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Judy Wakhungu on Friday at the Kenya Wildlife Services headquarters show that the endangered species has been steadily decreasing in all areas studied.

In the Laikipia-Samburu-Meru-Marsabit ecosystem, the number of Grevy’s zebra was recorded at 1,621 this year as compared to 1,897 five years ago.

The zebras numbered 2,400 in the year 2008.

“I am, however, happy to announce that the annual rate of the Grevy’s zebra decline has slowed down from about five per cent between 2008 and 2012 to three per cent between 2012 and 2017.

“This implies that conservation efforts that my ministry has put in place through Kenya Wildlife Services and other conservation partners will lead to an increase in the future. I am happy we are winning in saving this endangered species,” Prof Wakhungu told journalists at the function.

The animal census also showed that the elephant population in Kenya has been growing by about 2.5 per cent annually.

According to Prof Wakhungu, the marked increase is thanks to the efforts of the Kenya Wildlife Services and other conservancies in minimising the deaths of wildlife.

According to Prof Wakhungu both aerial surveys and the dung count method were used to carry out the animal census in the Laikipia-Meru-Samburu-Marsabit ecosystem, Mwea National Reserve, Aberdare Forest, Mau Forest Complex and the Mount Kenya Forest.

In total, elephants were found to be 15,316 in 2017 compared to 14,411 in 2012.

This translates to about 181 births annually for the past five years.

Prof Wakhungu also said that poaching has decreased by 80 per cent in the last four years.

This can be seen in the number of carcasses of the animals found during the survey.

A total of 102 elephant carcasses were counted during the survey, with old carcasses being the majority.

Only one fresh carcass was found in the Trans-Mara forest block.

Buffalo and giraffes were also found to be increasing in number.

Prof Wakhungu said more work needs to be done to prevent the potential conflict between man and the wildlife by increasing animal migratory corridors.

She also said that her ministry and KWS will continue to provide long- and short-term measures for conservation of the country’s wildlife.