Images of dead giraffes highlight Kenya climate crisis

Kenya has recorded significantly less than average rainfall in recent years

In this aerial view, the bodies of six giraffes lie on the outskirts of Eyrib village in Sabuli Wildlife Conservancy on December 10, 2021 in Wajir County, Kenya. Getty
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Six giraffes lie dead in a circle, their ragged bodies almost intertwined near the spot where they met a grim end, killed by drought.

The scene was pictured at the Sabuli Wildlife Conservancy in Wajir, Kenya, where the majestic animals had gathered by a lake to drink.

But the water levels were so low, the giraffes apparently became stuck in the mud and died of dehydration.

The image shocked the world and drew attention to Kenya’s climate crisis, where in recent years average rainfall is only half that of pre-drought levels, according to the UN’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

In September, the OHCA laid bare the risk to human beings and livestock as drought persists in many areas of the country, also shedding light on the fate of animals searching for water in drying lakes.

“Many open water sources – including rivers, water pans and dams – have dried up across pastoral and marginal agricultural livelihood zones, and other open water sources at 20 [per cent] to 40 per cent of capacity,” the report said, while warning that the number of people facing hunger in the country could rise to 2.4 million this year.

Some herders in drought-affected counties in Kenya have reported herd losses of up to 70 per cent, and the government has declared a national disaster in 10 of its 47 counties.

Wildlife has begun to die, too, the chair of the Subuli Wildlife Conservancy, Mohamed Sharmarke, told Associated Press last month.

“The heat on the ground tells you the sign of starvation we’re facing,” he said.

Updated: December 14, 2021, 11:13 AM