The veterinary officers of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) are looking into a mysterious disease that has been killing giraffes in Wajir.
The skin disease, which spreads to the mouth altering the giraffes’ feeding, is said to have killed more than 10 giraffes at the Sabuli conservancy in Wajir county, which is home to 40 giraffes.
According to Wajir county KWS warden Karimi Mbaka, two giraffes have recently died from the condition. He pointed out that the disease might be linked to the drought experienced in the region since it is said to be rampant during the dry season.
This condition was first witnessed in May 2020, killing six giraffes within a period of five months. Since then, more than 10 giraffes have been reported to have died from the condition.
“The disease seems to worsen during the dry season when the forage declines. We have recorded more than 10 deaths at the conservancy since last year. More might be affected outside our conservancy,” said the Sabuli Conservancy chairman, Mohamed Sharmarke.
Mbaka said that screening would be done on the giraffes in order to provide medical attention to those affected.
"We don't have a serious situation at the conservancy but we shall be carrying out a screening for other giraffes to identify those still affected for treatment,” said Mbaka.
The Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, on Tuesday, March 16, directed a team from KWS Meru Mobile Vet Unit to investigate what is ailing the giraffes.
Balala said that the team would work with the local KWS team to locate the giraffes and conduct medical examinations on them. This will be aimed at identifying the cause of the deaths and ways to reduce the risk of death in other giraffes and wildlife species.
In a report by Natural resources Defence Council (NRDC), the overall population of giraffes declined by 40 percent in over 30 years. They approximated the number of giraffes remaining in the wild to be 68,000.
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