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Kenyan scientists sound alarm over threats to Grevy's Zebra

07 November 2014, 09:19

Nairobi - The Grevy's Zebra is among mammals threatened with extinction in Kenya due to climatic shocks, diseases and human activities, scientists warned on Thursday.

Kneya Wildlife Service (KWS) Deputy Director in charge of Species Conservation and Management Patrick Omondi said the population of Grevy's Zebra in the country's wild has rapidly declined.

"The survival of Grevy's Zebra is threatened by habitat loss, predators, hunting and virulent diseases. This mammal is competing for pasture and water with livestock," Omondi told a conservation conference in Nairobi.

The day-long conference brought together policymakers and scientists to discuss a strategic plan to save the mammal as well as conservation challenges, needs and future outlook.

The East African nation has developed a four-year strategic plan to boost conservation of the Grevy's Zebra.

Omondi said the government has partnered with donors and community based organizations to promote conservation of this mammal.

Also read: Premier League players condemn illegal wildlife trade

Kenya has an estimated population of 2,546 Grevy's Zebras that are concentrated in the northern rangelands.

According to scientists, the Grevy's Zebra historically roamed across Horn of African nations of Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Eritrea.

Currently, the species is found only in Kenya and Ethiopia, as hunting for meat and hostile climate pushed it to extinction in the other horn of Africa states.

Kenya has explored innovative strategies to reverse a decline in the population of Grevy's Zebra. Omondi revealed the government has increased resources for the conservation of this mammal.

"We have partnered with local communities to conserve the Grevy's Zebra habitat. There are concerted efforts to eliminate hunting of the species," he said, adding that resources have been channeled towards the fight against diseases affecting the Grevy's Zebra.

The Head of Species Management, Kenya Wildlife Service, Charles Musyoki noted that human encroachment is largely to blame for a decline in population of Grevy's Zebra in the northern rangelands.

"An ecological imbalance triggered by human activities and climate change pose a grave threat to the Grevy's Zebra," Musyoki said.

 - Xinhua

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