In December 2015, six giraffes were found dead in Wajir County, Kenya, after they got stuck in the mud while trying to reach a nearby almost dried up water reservoir. Due to the severe drought, 4,000 giraffes could also follow the same fate, along with many wild animals. In September, President Uhuru Kenyatta declared the drought a national disaster, with more than two million Kenyans facing the possibility of starvation.
According to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, much of Kenya’s north has received less than 30% of normal rainfall since September, the worst rain season recorded in decades. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said: “Water sources for both people and livestock have dried up, forcing families to walk longer distances and causing tensions among communities, which has led to an increase in intercommunal conflict.”
Ibrahim Ali, location chief of Bour-Algi Giraffe Sanctuary in Garissa County, said to the Star that the situation worsened because many people are farming along the rivers, blocking wildlife from accessing water: “Domesticated animals were being assisted but not wildlife, and now they are suffering.”
Although droughts are natural phenomena, this one could well have been caused — or made worse — by the current human-made climate crisis. People tend to think of global warming as just that, warming of the average air temperature, but its effects are very different in different parts of the globe. In some places, it will show up in the form of torrential rain and flooding, while in others, like in the case of Kenya, as prolonged droughts. When we talk about veganism being the ultimate solution to the world’s most serious crises, we are not talking only about the suffering of animals used in agriculture, but also about the wildlife affected by deforestation and climate change. For us, all animals matter.