Conserving the last remaining Grevy zebra with the Grevy Zebra Trust

This weekend gone (27th & 28th January) the Grevy Zebra Trust held their annual ‘Great Grevy Rally‘. The Great Grevy’s Rally (GGR) was a two-day photographic census to monitor the status and health of the endangered and iconic Grevy’s zebra in northern and central Kenya, where over 90% of the global population is found. The Rally has been running for several years, however it was only this year that the counting of the Reticulated giraffe was included in the search. There was worry among experts that 2017’s drought in the regions habituated by the Grevy zebra would have a detrimental effect on the population’s of these endangered animals.

The Grevy’s zebra is one of Africa’s most endangered large mammals that is uniquely adapted to survive in arid environments. Their global numbers have declined from 15,000 in the 1970s to 2,500 today. Over 90% of Grevy’s zebra are found only in northern and central Kenya with the remainder in Ethiopia. Grevy’s zebra are threatened by widespread loss of habitat, limited access to water, poaching and disease.

A Grevy zebra, known for their smaller stripes and large ears

Kasmira Cockerill, event organiser of the Great Grevy Rally, spoke to SCC about the reasons behind the Rally and what the goal of the weekend was: ‘The Rally has three goals 1) Collect valuable information to help save the endangered Grevy’s zebra – a species where almost 95% of the population is found only in Kenya! 2) Engage Kenyans and tourists alike in a conservation activity which has tangible value for Kenyan wildlife and raise awareness of endangered species conservation. 3) Promote adventure tourism in critical wildlife areas, including the Community Conservancies of Northern Kenya.’ 

Kasmira went on to tell us how conservation should be for everyone: ‘ ‘I think conservation is something we leave to the scientist and experts, and we are often left asking what can I do? This is an event where we can all do something. We can all take a picture, and it has real value. It can tell us not only the population number but the age, sex and health of every individual. Therefore we can know how healthy the population is and we can make predictions about how the population will do in the future. This means our management decision can be better informed.’
A team of motorbikes reached herds that couldn’t be reached by cars near Lake Turkana
Borana Lodge made great efforts to get involved in the Rally, sending out a pair of eager individuals with their cameras to find Grevy zebra on Borana Conservancy. Their day was fun packed, with many hours spent out looking for the zebras. Borana Conservancy is in the time location for the zebra, so the Borana team were hopeful to find any calling the landscape home.
Borana team ready to go!
Want to join in next year and become a #CitizenScientist for the weekend? – get in touch with SCC for more information, as well as updates on how the Grevy zebra population have fared, with updates from the Trust coming later in the year.
Photo credit: Ed Hough, Moon MacMahon, Borana Conservancy

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"We saw so many extraordinary things - not only stunning wildlife but met interesting locals and conservationists which made our trip exceptional."

Candice Trafford, USA May 29, 2016


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