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Drought affects wild animals at Mara

One elephant, eleven buffaloes and nine wildebeests at the Maasai Mara ecosystem in Narok County have died due to the ongoing dry spell in the area in the last one month.

The county senior Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) warden Osman Ibrahim told Kenya News Agency that the situation would be worse if it failed to rain for the next two months.

However, the KWS boss said the area was not severely affected by drought compared to Tsavo and Amboseli National parks because the Mara received enough rains last year.

Another advantage with the Maasai Mara game reserve, he said, is that the animals migrate to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to look for pasture when the Mara side has no pasture.

The Senior warden also raised concern of the increased human- wildlife conflict as livestock and wild animals are competing for the limited pasture.

The wild animals, he said, are moving a wider range looking for pasture and water which threatens their coexistence with humans, but there is no major incident that has been reported so far.

“We have our officers well distributed in areas known to be wildlife corridors so as to mitigate any occurrence of wild-human conflicts, so far, no major incident has been reported,” he said.

He called on residents living around the Maasai Mara ecosystem to avoid fencing their farms as they could interfere with the animal corridors which increases the chances of human-wild conflicts.

According to a recent report released by KWS, over 200 elephants, 512 wildebeests, 381 zebras, 51 buffalos and 12 giraffes have died in the past nine months.

The Living Planet report by World Wide Fund for Nature warns governments, businesses and the public to take transformative action to reverse the destruction of biodiversity.

By Ann Salaton

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