Ocean water killing wild animals in Lamu as drought bites

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has warned of possible massive deaths of wildlife in Lamu following prolonged drought since the wild animals are drinking saline ocean water.

Lamu County KWS Senior Warden Jacob Orale has confirmed that tens of hippos and buffaloes have already died in various parts of the county after resorting to drinking salty water from the Indian Ocean.

Addressing journalists in his office on Thursday, Mr Orale said ocean water is not safe for wildlife consumption and it may cause deaths especially in areas adjacent to the Indian Ocean in Kwasasi, Basuba, Kililana and Mashunduani.

He said the same situation is also being experienced at Mpeketoni’s Lake Kenyatta, one of Kenya’s oldest natural fresh water lakes but whose water has now tuned salty due to the ravaging drought that.

Over 15 hippos have already been reported to have died at Lake Kenyatta since the onset of the drought in mid-2016.


“Due to the ongoing drought that has led to shortage of water in the county, wild animals have resorted to consuming [water from the] Indian Ocean which is very salty and unsafe for their health.

“Many animals have died due to lack of food and water as the drought continues to bite.

“We are, however, worried that more wildlife will perish due to consumption of the saline ocean water.

“Already we have lost a considerable number of hippos and buffaloes at Lake Kenyatta, Kwasasi and Basuba,” said Mr Orale.

Mr Orale also said due to the lack of water in their usual habitats, most of the wild animals are now invading human habitats where they also risk being attacked and killed by locals.

“We have had cases of buffaloes and hippos invading homesteads and schools looking for water in tanks, taps and even bathrooms,” said Mr Orale.

He appealed to the government and well-wishers to join hands with the KWS and put up dams and water pans for wildlife in the county.

“As KWS, together with the various conservancies in Lamu, we have sponsored water tracking at Lake Chomo and areas within Amu Ranch in order to save the animals from dying due to the biting drought,” he added.

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