The photograph to the left was taken Friday by Nairobi’s FM Capital radio station in Nyauhuru (formerly Thompson’s Falls) at the north end of the Aberdare National Park. An elephant and a hippo became mired in the Ewaso Nyiro River (the same river which normally flows through Samburu National Park) as it was drying up. Both animals are well outside a protected park, but were desperate for water.
Rain has come heavily to parts of western Kenya, but it is still early for the rains in this part of the northern Rift which has experienced such a devastating drought. It isn’t due for several more weeks.
Meanwhile, the struggle continues. This photograph was taken, according to FM Capital Radio, shortly after Kenyan police dispersed protesters who had gathered at the site when Kenyan wildlife officials arrived with tractors to free the animals.
“Save us, not the jumbo!” was the cry of the crowd. Tear gas canisters were finally shot at what was estimated to be about 300 people, dispersing them.
The World Food Program estimates as many as ten million people in Kenya are starving as a result of the drought. When the animals were first found, the local populations was attempting to kill them for butchering.
The Kenyan Wildlife Service finally freed the two animals before herding them out of the area.
Many NGO’s are coming to the aid of the human population in Kenya with food and water, while the wildlife population is dying by the millions – I hear from friends that the parks are littered with the carcasses of elephant, hippos, warthogs, gazelles, et al.
The human population is growing fast and doubling every few years. When I was first there in ’97 it was 24 million – now it is over 40 million. The wildlife numbers are drastically declining every year.
The political powers that be are apparently completely unconcerned with this dire trend even though tourism in wildlife parks and reserves is their top economic rung of their GNP.
October 12, 2009 3:17 PM