Conservationists to conduct census on Grevy Zebras

Written By: Rose Welimo/KNA
1801

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Conservationists are expected to conduct a Photographic census on the endangered Grevy Zebras and Reticulated Giraffes in five Counties in Northern Kenya starting Saturday.

A team of over six hundred volunteers will participate in the two day exercise that will be conducted over the weekend with its coordination being held at the Mpala Animal Research Centre in Laikipia County.

The teams will visit Laikipia, Meru, Isiolo, Samburu and Marsabit Counties which are the main habitats for the animals whose adaption only favors them to live in the North of the Equator.

The event dubbed “The Great Grevy’s Rally” is a two-day photographic census to monitor the health and status of the endangered Grevy’s zebras.

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In January of 2016 the first Great Grevy’s Rally successfully brought together 118 teams who collectively drove over 25,000 kilometers and took over 40,000 photographs where the census found the population to be 2,350 individual Grevy’s Zebras at the time.

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This year the exercise will be conducted on the 27th and 28th this month where it will also include the reticulated giraffes.

According to Joan Wandengi the Communications specialist at Laikipia Wildlife Forum who are part of the organizers, the event will bring together conservancies, county officials, community members, local and international citizen scientists with a team of conservationists to photograph all the Grevy’s zebras and reticulated giraffe in Northern Kenya.

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Kenya is home to over 90 Per cent of the world’s remaining Grevy’s Zebras and following the many conservation challenges of the last two years it is vital to conduct a census again to document impacts on the population.

In Kenya, reticulated giraffes have declined by 80 per cent in the last 30 years and the census will also help to find out more about the local populations in Northern Kenya.

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According to Laikipia County Executive in Charge of Tourism Nicolus Biwott since 2016, the living conditions for the Zebra species have been stressed by drought and conflict.

Biwott affirmed that Laikipia County however has the largest population of the Grevy’s Zebras at 51.80 Per cent followed by Samburu and Meru at 18.43 and 14.26 per cent respectively.

Isiolo has 12.29 per cent while Marsabit closes the list with 3.22 per cent.

From just a photograph the scientists can learn not only the number of Grevy’s zebras and reticulated giraffes but also the age, sex and health of every individual.

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