Changing Planet

Serious Drought in Africa Drives Cattle into Wildlife Parks

The drought in East Africa has reached such apocalyptic proportions that desperate cattle herders are invading wildlife parks to find grazing for their animals, according to WildlifeDirect, the conservation blog network.

“Kenya has always had droughts, but rarely this serious,” WildlifeDirect noted today.

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Photo of dead cow in Nairobi Park courtesy WildlifeDirect

Herders are brazenly and openly leading their cattle into Nairobi Park, on the outskirts of the capital city of Kenya, according to a posting on the WildlifeDirect blog Baraza. The blog said reports had been received of similar invasions in parks elsewhere in the country.

“The cattle have devastated the land outside the park and are dying on the road side. A few have even been slaughted for sale to local residents before succumbing to natural death,” a post on Baraza said.

Giant Cattle Herd Flees to Ethiopia

Meanwhile, the BBC reported today that a giant herd of 200,000 cattle has fled into Ethiopia to escape the drought in Kenya.

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization told the BBC that it was one of the largest movements of cattle in the region in 10 years. “This large influx may potentially result in the spread of livestock diseases, adversely impacting the cattle export market in Ethiopia,” according to a UN statement.

Elephants Die in Amboseli

The drought is killing elephants and other wildlife in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park and surrounding ecosystem, exacerbating a situation already critical because of a surge in ivory poaching, Amboseli Trust for Elephants Program Director and noted elephant researcher Cynthia Moss posted on her blog last week. Elephants she has known for decades are succumbing to the lack of water and food.

Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media. David Braun edits the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn

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