A wild female African elephant has died because of the drought in Kenya, animal welfare organization Save the Elephants said in a statement on Thursday. Monsoon survived being shot five times by poachers, but succumbed to drought.
Monsoon survived the poaching war of 2009 – 2014 despite being shot five times by poachers and losing two calves to poachers’ bullets.
Save the Elephants said Monsoon, who was around 60 years old, was euthanized after she collapsed several times in northern Kenya. The organization had been studying her for the past 25 years.
Experts think her ill health was brought on by old age -African elephants can live up to 70 years old- and worsened by the drought, which has ravaged parts of Kenya for months. Older elephants and young calves are most affected by the drought.
In the north, the drought is so severe that wild elephants scramble for food in a landscape that looks like a desert, Save the Elephants said.
The grass has mostly been eaten by hungry cows and sheep who have entered protected areas like Samburu National Reserve looking for food.
Elephants are tearing down acacia trees to eat the sharp branches, or they walk into tourist areas looking for food.
“Sadly, the outlook for rain later this year is grim, and there are fears the drought may stretch well into 2023, which is a major worry,” Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder of Save the Elephants, said.
“We are working with our partners, local communities and government in Kenya to address the long-term problems the drought will bring to wildlife and communities alike and doing our best to prevent more elephants like Monsoon from dying,” he added.
Four consecutive rainy seasons have been unsuccessful in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, an unusual climatic event that has pushed millions of people and animals across the Horn of Africa into extreme hunger.