Endangered Rothschild giraffes electrocuted in Kenya

Posted by Imogen Searra on 23 February 2021

Low hanging power lines in Soysambu conservancy in Nakuru, Kenya electrocuted two endangered Rothschild’s giraffes.

These animals are a subspecies of the Northern giraffe. Tusk, a conservation organisation that has led various efforts to protect these animals, states that these animals were once in abundance in Kenya, Uganda and Sudan.

Now they are only found in small groups in western Kenya and the north of Uganda, where 60% of the population occurs.

Habitat loss from deforestation, land conversion for agriculture, human population growth and poaching for meat and their hide have contributed to the subspecies demise.

Kenya Wildlife Services have addressed the situation and said: ‘The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) hereby informs the public that Kenya Power and Lighting Company is currently assessing the situation in Soysambu Conservancy in Nakuru, after reports that two giraffes were electrocuted to death. The company is expected to replace the electricity poles to prevent electrocution of giraffes within the area.

‘At the same time, Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Hon. Najib Balala is engaging the Energy Cabinet Secretary Hon. Charles Keter on the same for a lasting solution. This comes after KWS representatives visited the conservancy following the death reports. Preliminary reports indicate that the height of electricity poles crossing Soysambu Conservancy are low, below giraffe’s height.’

Dr. Paula Kahumbu, a multi-award-winning Kenyan wildlife conservationist and CEO of WildlifeDirect, posted heartbreaking images of the giraffes on Twitter, sparking an outcry. Viewer discretion is advised.

In a follow-up Tweet, she said: ‘These power lines have been killing giraffe, vultures and flamingoes. Advice from experts was ignored. RIAs [Risk Impact Assessments] are notoriously poor on many development projects. Sad that it takes these kinds of deaths to wake some people up!’

In Kenya, there are a total of 28,850 giraffes: 12, 717 are Maasai giraffe, 15,524 are Reticulated giraffe and 609 are Rothschild’s giraffe.

Picture: Twitter

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