Hundreds of elephants, zebras and other animals die amid drought in Kenya

A dead elephant lies amid brush and parched earth.
An elephant that killed a woman while searching for sustenance was slain in October by wildlife rangers near Loolkuniyani, Kenya.
(Brian Inganga / Associated Press)

Hundreds of animals, including elephants and endangered Grevy’s zebras, have died in Kenyan wildlife preserves during East Africa’s worst drought in decades, according to a report released Friday.

The Kenya Wildlife Service and other organizations counted the deaths of 205 elephants, 512 wildebeests, 381 common zebras, 51 buffaloes, 49 Grevy’s zebras and 12 giraffes in the last nine months, according to the report.

Parts of Kenya have experienced four consecutive seasons with inadequate rain in the last two years, with dire effects for people and animals, including livestock.


The worst-affected ecosystems are home to some of Kenya’s most-visited national parks, reserves and conservancies, including the Amboseli, Tsavo and Laikipia-Samburu areas, according to the report’s authors.

They called for an urgent aerial census of wildlife in Amboseli to get a broader view of the drought’s effect on wild animals there.

As mountain lions seek to avoid wildfire zones, their risks of being hit by automobiles or entering deadly conflicts with other pumas are increasing.

Oct. 20, 2022

Other experts have recommended the immediate provision of water and salt licks in impacted regions.

Elephants, for example, drink more than 60 gallons of water a day, according to Jim Justus Nyamu, executive director of the Elephant Neighbors Center.

For Grevy’s zebras, experts urge enhancing provisions of hay.