During October and early November the whole of Tsavo East National Park was lying thirsty, parched under the heat of the unforgiving African sun, desperately awaiting unpredictable rains. This arid environment is no stranger to drought and harsh conditions, yet the wet seasons once relied upon to bring relief are worryingly now becoming even rarer as global warming bites.
The struggle for water is an on-going battle which the wildlife of Tsavo, and Kenya as a whole, is fighting all too often these days, but there are measures that can be taken to reduce the impact of these long and harsh dry seasons, and to relieve the challenges of water access for wildlife and DSWT looks to be proactive in this regard. Working closely with the KWS Senior Warden of Tsavo East and the Kenya Wildlife Service workforce, the DSWT has financially supported the rehabilitation of large water holes in the southern section of the park with donations of fuel and labour. This project was put in action in anticipation of the rains, deepening and reinforcing existing watering points so that more water could be held for longer, which is relied upon by huge numbers of wildlife, especially Tsavos vulnerable elephant populations.
Literally a week following the completion of the dams, the rains fortuitously arrived. Some areas within Tsavo have received significant rainfall, but it has been incredibly localised and unfortunately not as widespread as hoped, with areas of the park remaining bone dry. Luckily the dams the Trust had been providing funding for were in an area where substantial rain has fallen, and literally overnight these enlarged dams have successfully captured significant volumes of water, much to the delight of the wild elephant herds and all wildlife who have been bathing and hydrating themselves daily.
Capturing rain water effectively is essential in combating the effects of drought on wildlife and is an on-going initiative of the Trust. To support the DSWT and KWS in continuing this important work please visit https://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org/html/help.html