Africa is experiencing its longest drought in 40 years, with five consecutive seasons of below-average rainfall, and it may not get better next year.
The report analyzed the impact of drought on Kenya’s wildlife and found that the drought killed thousands of animals in Kenya this year, including hundreds of zebras and elephants.
Scientists found that since 1983, droughts have become more frequent and severe in much of East, Southern and Central Africa, with more severe dry months each year and a 40% increase in the area of land affected by drought.
Kenya is now experiencing its fifth season of below-average rainfall, the longest in 40 years.
Rainfall in the last three months of the year accounts for 70% of the total annual rainfall in the equatorial region of the Greater Horn of Africa, especially in eastern Kenya.
Although sporadic rain has finally come in recently, it is expected to remain dry until the end of the year and into early next year.
Lack of rain has dried up riverbeds in Kenya, damaging grasslands in wildlife sanctuaries. Kenya’s famous national parks and protected areas are all in the dry range.
Drought kills wildlife, mainly herbivores. The survey found that the drought from February to October killed thousands of animals, with 14 species most affected, causing 205 elephants, 512 wildebeest, 381 common zebras, 51 water buffalo, 49 Grevy’s zebras and 12 Giraffe died.
Zebras and wildebeest were particularly affected by the drought, with 49 of the 430 dead zebras being the endangered Grevy.
In just three months, 40 Grevy’s zebras, about 2 percent of the population, and an estimated 3,000 individuals in the wild, died from the drought.
The Results of Drought might be underestimated…
Elephants are also threatened, especially young elephants, who are not tall enough to access higher food.
In the Amboseli ecosystem in southwestern Kenya, 76 elephants died, including 45 baby elephants whose mothers were unable to produce milk and died of malnutrition.
There were only 36,000 elephants left in Kenya last year, and climate change has killed 20 times more elephants than poaching.
The report pointed out that the death of thousands of animals may be underestimated, and the carcasses of animals that died due to the drought from February to September may have been eaten by predators.
In addition, the vast territory makes it impossible for researchers to grasp every area of wildlife activity.
Scientists believe that the worsening climate is wreaking havoc on the entire African continent. The Kenyan government is digging boreholes and delivering water to dry pans and dams, providing salt and hay to save animal lives.
Animals are in a life-or-death situation, and humans are also facing famine. Millions of people in the Horn of Africa are facing a crisis of food insecurity due to the worst drought in 40 years and rising global food prices.
Experts from the World Meteorological Organization’s East Africa Climate Center say Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are on the brink of an unprecedented humanitarian disaster.
The UN Under-Secretary-General also called on rich countries to focus on providing climate aid to developing countries in Africa.