CAPE TOWN – Kenya’s first-ever national wildlife census has revealed the country’s rarest animal, the Roan Antelope.
Kenya, as is the case with the entire East African region, is world-renowned for its rich wildlife from lions to elephants and buffalos, to name only a few.
In order to assist in conservation efforts to protect its wildlife, the Kenyan government has launched a two-month back exercise to determine the number of land and aquatic wildlife the country possesses, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has said back in May.
Kenya’s National Wildlife Census 2021 is the first of its kind in the country and establishes “a baseline data on wildlife population status and distribution for future use to understand wildlife population trends and shifts in their distribution,” according to the cabinet secretary for Tourism and Wildlife Najib Balala at the launch of the census.
Earlier this week, Balala presented the complete census to President Uhuru Kenyatta, according to State House Kenya.
The census involved methods such as aerial counting – involving aircraft and drone technology, indirect dung counting, a ground census, waterhole census, and even camera traps, according to Kenya’s National Wildlife Census2021.
The census has revealed that Kenya has the fourth largest population of Savanna elephants in the world, with more than 36,000 counted in the East African country.
Animals of the “least concern” category, which has thriving populations include more than 57,000 wildebeest, 121,911 common zebras, and nearly 20,000 reticulated giraffes.
Overall, there is a total of 17 animals within this category.
On the other end of the scale is the critically endangered category, which includes the tana river mangabey, black rhino, hirola, sable antelope, and the roan antelope.
The roan antelope possesses the lowest numbers out of the entire category, at only 15 counted in the East African country.
The roan antelope grows up to 2.4m tall, can weigh nearly 300kg, have white eyebrows and cheeks with a black face, with ringed horns that can grow up to one metre.
The National Wildlife Census 2021 reveals that the roan antelope used to roam widely in Africa. However, over the past 40 years their numbers have decreased dramatically due to poaching and land conversion for agricultural usage.
The only population of roan antelope which is either stable or increasing is mainly found in private reserves in South Africa.
There is an estimated 76,000 roan antelope in the world today, and a third of the animal’s population is found in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Zambia, and Tanzania.
– African News Agency