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Severe drought kills hundreds of animals in parks

NATIONAL
By Renson Mlegwa Mnyamwezi | December 3rd 2021

A senior warden at the Sarova Taita Hills sanctuary, Donart Mwakio (in uniform), examining a carcass in the private sanctuary. [Renson Mlegwa Mnyamwezi, Standard]

The ongoing drought has taken a heavy toll on wildlife conservation in Taita-Taveta County.

Reports from conservationists show that different wildlife species are dying in large numbers in both private and public sanctuaries.

The sanctuaries that have been badly affected are located in Tsavo National Park and Sarova Game Reserve. Scores of animals in the LUMO Community Wildlife Sanctuary and private ranches have also died due to lack of pasture and water.

Wildlife conservation stakeholders said that despite heavy rains being experienced in some parts of the county, sickly and weakened animals continue to die at an alarming rate.

In the 28,000 acre-Sarova Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary situated along the Mwatate-Taveta road, the carcasses of buffalos, zebras and antelopes were scattered on the parched ground.

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has remained mum despite reports of deaths in the parks.

KWS assistant director in charge of Tsavo Conservation Area Kennedy Ochieng could not be reached for comment as his mobile phone went answered. Another senior KWS warden in Tsavo, Willis Njue, said he was still on leave and wasn't in a position to give information about the animal deaths.

Taita Hills Safari Resort and Spa Bura General Manager Willy Mwadilo and a senior warden at the sanctuary, Dornart Mwakio, who were speaking yesterday, said many animals have died due to starvation.

“The current drought has taken a heavy toll on the wildlife, which are dying in large numbers. Five animals have been dying every day. Those badly affected include buffalos, zebras, and antelopes, among others,” said Mr Mwakio.

Mr Mwadilo, who is also the chairman of the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers in Tsavo and Amboseli, said the huge loss of wildlife had badly affected tourism activities in the region. 

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