2% of the world’s rarest zebras wiped out in Kenya’s relentless drought
In a region that is home to more than half of the world’s wild and endangered zebras, a drought has decimated populations.
Now the region is bracing itself for the next dry spell thanks to an extraordinary wildlife rescue effort.
In February, four young zebras were found dead on their way to their herd up the steep slopes of Mount Kenya in the country’s northwest.
More than half the world’s wild and rare zebra species are now believed to be at risk.
And their fate could have been much worse if it wasn’t for what the Kenyan government is calling the biggest wildlife rescue effort in the nation’s history.
The team of experts includes several US National Park Service rangers, the Kenya Wildlife Service and a team of volunteers, including a student from California who are helping to find homes for the zebras’ most vulnerable female.
The new homes are being set up to accommodate all 12 of the wild zebras who have been found dead on their way to their herd on Mount Kenya.
Zebra deaths are more common than most wildlife experts would initially expect.
But the severity is also increasing in this region of the country with the effects of the drought on the wildlife’s life cycle more severe than in many other areas.
“At the beginning, we thought this was the dry season,” says Mark Henke, a National Parks ranger and volunteer working with the Kenya Wildlife Service.
“It took the drought much longer to get here, which is why we didn’t anticipate this.”
The team of specialists, including US National Park Service rangers, have spent the past month working together to find homes for the zebras.
It is a painstaking process involving a lengthy and complex process known as relocation, as well as working on site in order to provide the zebras with everything they