Worst drought in 40 years kills generation of Kenya’s elephants, WWF says

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A generation of elephants have died in Kenya as much of East Africa endures its worst drought in 40 years, the conservation organisation World Wildlife Fund reported.

Dehydrated elephant calves and adults struggled to stand, footage shared by the WWF showed.

Kenya’s tourism minister Peninah Malonza said on Friday the drought had killed 205 elephants and scores of other wildlife between February and October.

The drought was also affecting livestock and communities, said Samson Lenjir, WWF’s Kenya elephant programme coordinator.

“The pastoralists communities are really in dire [danger] of another catastrophic situation whereby we are not only losing livestock, but we could also be losing people,” he added. Although sporadic rainfall has finally started in the region, Kenya’s Meteorological Department is forecasting below-average rainfall for much of the country for the coming months, raising fears that the threat to the country’s wildlife is not over.

News of the toll on wildlife in Kenya, where tourism contributes about 10 percent of economic output and employs over 2 million people, comes just days before the start of the UN climate conference COP27.

The areas to the north and south of Kenya are most affected by the drought and are also home to the bulk of Kenya's elephant population.

The tourism ministry recommended providing vulnerable wildlife groups with water, salt licks, and food and to increase monitoring and data collection.