Kenya sounds alarm over extinction of rare zebra

Nairobi, Dec 11 : The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) says Grevy's zebra, a rare species, is in danger of becoming extinct if urgent measures are not taken to reverse the trend.

Charles Musyoki, the KWS senior scientist in charge of species, Wednesday said Grevy's zebra is facing a serious risk of extinction in the medium and long term and is now on the brink of being categorised as a critically endangered species.

"The animal was available in six countries in Africa in 1970s but now only 2,000 are available in Kenya and Ethiopia," Xinhua reported citing a statement issued by Musyoki in Nairobi.

The animal could also be seen earlier in Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia and South Sudan.

The population of Grevy's zebra has declined from an estimated 15,000 in the late 1970s to the current 2,000.

This has been attributed to poaching, disease, and limited access to grazing fields and water resources as a result of competition with livestock.

The KWS, charged with championing the conservation of wildlife, recently held the fifth annual Grevy's zebra research conference in Nairobi to review measures taken over the past 10 years to stem the decreasing population of the species.

Grevy's zebra is strikingly beautiful and is popular with tourists, attracting thousands of high-end tourists to northern Kenya every year, where it is usually found.

--IANS (Posted on 12-12-2013)

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