A disastrous drought in Kenya's biggest game reserve is bringing death to hundreds of elephants and other animals.
A disastrous drought in Kenya's biggest game reserve is bringing death to hundreds of elephants and other animals. The vast Tsavo National park, between Nairobi and the coast, has been hit by an 18-month drought. Visnews cameraman Mohamed Amin visited the park this weekend to bring back this exclusive and disturbing film of the slow death facing thousands of animals.
Before the drought, the park contained an estimated 14,000 elephants and 2,000 rhinos. Most of the dead animals are old females or young ones. They die from starvation, the dry spell having seriously affected the parks grazing lands. But through the drought is the worst on record, park officials treat it as an act of God, saying that there's a serious shortage of water once a decade on average.
SYNOPSIS: The map shows Kenya's biggest game reserve, the eight-thousand square mile Tsavo National Park, It's currently in the grip of a disastrous drought. Only the vultures thrive in Tsavo at the moment. The drought is bringing death to hundreds of elephants and other animals. The park is the country's largest elephant sanctuary, sheltering an estimated fourteen-thousand animals before the drought started to thin out the herds.
Scores of the park's two-thousand rhinos are also dying. So are zebra and buffalo. The animals affected are mostly the young and the old. The annual rainfall of the region is over twenty-one inches. But last year this fell to nearly half the normal. And so far this year there have been scarely more than six inches of rain. There's been no significant rainfall this year since April. One of the park officials said that there is nothing that can be done to stem the current tide of death. It's an act of God, the said, indicating that fittest of the animals would survive the present crisis.
The animals are dying from starvation. The drought has parched the trees and bushes ??? which the elephants feed, slowly weakening the animals until they drift from herd to face a slow and solitary death.
This is one of the dying animals, waiting--patiently -- for the end, but though it's a heartbreaking sight, such large-scale deaths are part of a natural cycle at the Tsavo National Park. It ??? from drought once every decade on average. The last one was in 1960. But the present drought is the worst in recorded history. "This is quite natural," said a research official at ??? park, "it's been happening for thousand of years. The droughts are normally followed by flonde."