For as long as we can remember, we’ve been saving elephants and rhinos. Then almost a decade ago, lions numbers were dwindling at an alarming rate from being poisoned by the Maasai for killing their livestock – and we had to save them too.
Now we have about 20,000 lions left in the wild. In Kenya.
A few months ago however, while on a trip to the Mara, I was happy to see quite a few lions but wondered why I only saw one cheetah. As it turns out, we only have 1,200 cheetahs left in the wild. In Kenya.
I don’t know if I am late to the party but this is more than alarming. It is catastrophic.
Both the lion and the cheetah are invaluable for tourism. Same goes for rhinos and elephants, which are categorized as extremely endangered species.
So here’s a list of endangered species in Kenya and this is by no means the end of it; bees, colobus monkeys, vultures, giraffes, grevy zebra, pangolins and turtles. Imagine not having bees to pollinate flowers, and more importantly, about one-third of the country’s food crops?
Shouldn’t we do something about this to reverse the signs from red to green? Remember when Elementaita was drying up, and we had a massive tree planting drive at the Mau Forest? I believe that what we need to do is as simple and as complicated as that.
We found the animals here. And whatever the case, each has their own purpose. Just as tribe on tribe, Kenyans in Africa, Africa to the world; we are all interdependent. So what can you do?
1: Be aware of the facts
2: Go and see the actual situation. (Actually looking for a zebra and not finding it is weird)
3: While on the ground, ask how you can help
This is just a basic outline. I’m sure you may have heard of even more ingenious ways of lending a hand.
Here’s an actual example. The Grevy Zebra Trust is spearheading a citizen scientist event where they are calling on Kenyans to sign up and help them do a census of the Grevy Zebra, whose population stands at about 2,353 as at 2016.
All you need to do is free up your calendar on 27 and 28 January, sign up for the event here, go on a game drive in stipulated areas, use a digital camera provided to you to capture the animals and voila! You will have been done one deed to assist in the conservation of these beautiful zebra and seen a part of Kenya you may not have seen before.
Registration for the event is Ksh2,000 per vehicle.
Here’s a fun fact: an adult Grevy Zebra can successfully fight off a lion. Only those below 6 months are at greater risk of being eaten by a predator. The greatest threat to their existence is land degradation.
Join in the fun and help conserve what you can.