Severe drought killing Kenya's majestic elephants

Thu Oct 15, 2009 1:11pm EDT
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By Robert Waweru

TSAVO NATIONAL PARK, Kenya (Reuters Life!) - Elephant tusks litter dry river beds in parched southern Kenya.

The country's wildlife, prized for the tourist dollars it brings, is dying due to a severe drought.

Tourism is vital to east Africa's biggest economy, which boasts usually teeming national parks and snow white beaches.

But just as the sector was recovering from last year's post-election violence, it is at the mercy of the environment.

Elephants, buffalo and hippos are all dying.

The river through the world-renowned Maasai Mara, the scene of the spectacular wildebeest migration, has mostly dried up.

In Tsavo National Park, the carcasses of four elephants lie on the baked earth, dead from hunger and thirst.

"Many elephants have been affected due to the lack of water, especially the juveniles because their trunks are not long enough to reach the taller trees to feed," Paul Muya, tourism officer for Tsavo, told Reuters.   Continued...