2% of the world’s rarest zebras wiped out in Kenya’s relentless drought
More than 1,000 zebras from three South African zebra subspecies were saved from the worst drought in Kenya’s history when a government-run sanctuary opened this month.
The massive rescue operation followed years of mounting concern over the future of zebras, which have long been a key species in African conservations.
The sanctuary, located in the country’s Central Highlands, was established to save them from the effects of the worst drought on earth.
The sanctuary, located in the country’s Central Highlands, was established to save them from the effects of the worst drought on earth
‘We knew that if we did nothing, they would be lost in this terrible drought,’ said Mr Bheki Mosengo, chief of the Nairobi-based Mara Conservancy Authority.
‘But we wanted to do more.’
Zebras, which are native to East and Southern Africa, are the largest land mammals and are an important component of the ecosystem.
Their numbers are dwindling as the wild herds have been ravaged by trophy hunters and habitat destruction for agriculture.
The Mara Conservancy sanctuary, named after the region it lies in, is home to a population of about 1,500 zebras, including some subspecies that are critically endangered
Zebras are the largest land mammals and are an important component of the ecosystem
According to the Rare Species Conservation Group, one subspecies is on the brink of extinction.
These include the zebra chameleon, which lives only in the wild in Kenya, and the Gaur, which lives in India, Nepal and Bangladesh.
The Mara Conservancy Authority has been involved in efforts to save these subspecies and aims to restore habitats for zebra populations in Kenya.
It has also worked to preserve the animals and increase genetic diversity within populations.
‘We have an understanding of how to restore the populations. We have been trying to make a plan for the next five-year period,’ Mr Mosengo said in a statement.
‘We hope this will be a model for protecting the endangered species in Africa.’
Mr Bheki Mosengo, chief of the Mara Conservancy Authority, said that the