I am indebted to Nat Geo photographer Charlie Hamilton-James for these photos taken earlier this year when we decided to cover the drought in photos. We felt they must be seen even though they may be upsetting. They reveal the scale of the drought now in it's 3rd year on wildlife and livestock.
Most people want to know why the drought is so bad. Well, the truth is climate change may explain the reduced rainfall, but that alone does not explain the extreme conditions and the catastrophic deaths of wildlife and livestock. The land is exhausted, over grazed, soils washed away, rivers pumped dry and trees cut down over vast tracts of Kenya's rangelands. Land degradation has exacerbated the impact of low rainfall resulting in an environmental emergency. So far people are not yet dying, but my prediction is that soon, we will see children dropping out of school for hunger, and malnutrition related diseases will begin to take lives of the very young and the old. What upsets me most is that we predicted that this would happen and we warned the government about the ongoing war on nature but nobody was willing to listen. Now people are tired, angry and despondent. A few are trying to feed wildlife with bales of hay and by pumping water into pans in the parks. It's a valiant effort, but much more is needed otherwise even predators will have nothing to eat.
To support the efforts to restore degraded landscapes you can donate to www.wildlifedirect.org We are working with children in public schools across hte nation who are replanting trees, growing pollinator gardens, planting grass, stopping erosion, and cleaning the rivers in strategic locations like Amboseli, Maasai Mara, Tsavo and Nairobi National Park.
We are supporting desprate families who are affected by human wildlife conflict and who have lost key income earners and cannot keep their children in schools. We inform, educate, inspire and call people to action. Please do share this post widely. All photos are to be credited to Charlie Hamilton-James.