A herd of 25 endangered Grevy’s zebra has been translocated from Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Isiolo to Sera Wildlife Community Conservancy in Samburu County.
The move increases the number of Grevy’s zebra at the community-run black rhino sanctuary to 43 and is part of ongoing efforts ensure the survival of the at-risk species.
It is the first translocation of Grevy’s zebra to a community protected area and highlights the critical lead role that communities are taking in endangered species conservation in northern Kenya.
“We are ecstatic that the exercise went on smoothly and with the tremendous dedication of community members and wildlife experts including the Kenya Wildlife service,” said Anthony Wandera, Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) Senior Research and Monitoring officer.
The 107 square kilometer Sera Rhino Sanctuary was established in 2015 by the Sera community, and is currently home to 16 critically endangered black rhino.
The Grevy’s zebra inhabit arid and semi-arid areas, are taller than plains Zebra and have narrower stripes that stop at the belly. They are also larger, a black dorsal stripe and have more rounded ears than plains zebra.
They are one of the most critically endangered species of Zebra species and has undergone one of the most substantial reductions of range of any African mammal, according to Grevy’s Zebra Trust.
Today, an estimated 3,042 animals remain, representing an approximate 80% decline in global numbers. The 2018 estimate was 2,812 Grevy’s zebra in Kenya and 230 in Ethiopia.
“In Kenya, majority of the Grevy’s zebra populations are found in the northern parts of the country, with Lewa being host to approximately 12% of the total global population. Working with partners like NRT, GZT, KWS and others to provide expanded safe and secure habitats for them to thrive, is a conservation win for all of us” said Dr. Geoffrey Chege, Head of Conservation & Wildlife at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.
The move was a partnership between Sera Community Conservancy, the Northern Rangelands Trust, the Kenya Wildlife Service, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, the Grevy’s Zebra Trust, USAID, The Nature Conservancy, DANIDA and many more.
“The long-term survival of Grevy’s zebra will hinge on not only stabilising population declines, but on promoting population growth in northern Kenya, which is their stronghold,” said Ruben Lendira, Sera Community Conservancy manager.
“I am very proud that Sera can play a part in the future of the Grevy’s zebra, and looking forward to when we can nurture a population big enough that we can eventually release animals across the landscape.”
The joint exercise is a continued effort to reinforce the existing population and create a viable breeding population of Grevy’s zebra as outlined in the Recovery and Action Plan for Grevy’s Zebra in Kenya (2017 – 2026) published by the Kenya Wildlife Service.