Hundreds of elephants, wildebeests and zebras dead in Kenya amid prolonged drought
More than 150 wild animals were killed in Kenya this week, some of them after dying from starvation, the country’s agriculture ministry said on Wednesday.
Seventy-six zebras were among the dead, authorities in the East African country said.
“Wild animals were caught by people who killed and consumed them,” the agriculture ministry said in a statement. “Most of the dead animals were caught in the rainy season but unfortunately, some died in the dry season, resulting in large numbers of deaths.”
Droughts in the Horn of Africa region have claimed some 1.3 million lives and caused widespread destruction of vegetation as the region is the world’s largest rain forest.
In some areas, people and livestock are starving and are eating animals they could not get from local markets, said the statement.
“Many animals have been reported dead,” it said. “The deceased include birds, goats, cows, buffaloes, camels, zebras, wildebeests, elephants and ostriches.”
Kenya has faced heavy rains in recent weeks, with more than 2,000 people killed by floods in August, and two people have died in recent days from a suspected case of malaria, the agriculture ministry said on Monday.
This week, 2,500 cows were killed and 1,300 other animals killed by a drought related illness, the agriculture ministry said, adding it was monitoring the situation to ensure it did not happen again.
There are a few dozen cases of anthrax in Kenya each year, but such deaths are not unusual, according to the agriculture ministry.
Kenya is one of many emerging and developing countries where agriculture is the main source of livelihood for many families in rural areas, with livestock and farming a vital source of income.
In 2015, Kenya’s livestock kept at a loss of nearly $2bn because of economic inefficiencies and poor management.
But with few modern farming technologies and the continent