More than 200 elephants and hundreds of zebras and wildebeest have died in Kenya’s worst drought in four decades, the country’s tourism minister said on Friday.
The crisis has affected nearly half of Kenya’s regions and at least four million of Kenya’s 50 million population.
“The drought has caused the death of wildlife, mainly herbivore species,” Tourism Minister Peninah Malonza told a news conference in Nairobi on Friday, adding that 14 species had been identified as severely affected.
“The deaths are due to depletion of food resources as well as water shortages.”
Between February and October, officials recorded the deaths of 205 elephants, 512 wildebeest, 381 zebra, 12 giraffe and 51 buffalo, she said.
“Elephants in (the) Amboseli and Laikipia-Samburu regions are the worst affected by the drought as the ecosystems (there) have recorded more than 70 elephant deaths,” Malonza said.
Authorities deliver hay for the animals, she said.
According to estimates by the Ministry of Tourism, the country had 36,000 elephants last year.
Four consecutive rainy seasons have failed in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, and millions of people in the Horn of Africa have been pushed into extreme hunger. More than 1.5 million cattle have died in Kenya alone.