In Kenya, preparations are underway for an important wildlife census.
TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images
Published June 22, 2018
Published 2 months ago
At the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, and just 160 miles from Nairobi, Kenya's Amboseli National Park stands as one of the world's premiere spots for seeing large wild animals: African elephants, lions, cheetahs, buffalos, impalas, hyenas, giraffes, zebras, and wildebeests. To keep track of how the animals are faring in the face of various threats to their well-being — drought, poachers, encroaching townships, among other things — officials are now preparing to conduct an "aerial census." Here, a few photos from their practice runs.
TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty ImagesWATERING HOLEAmboseli National Park measures 150 square miles — about the size of Denver. The last census, in 2011, was conducted in the aftermath of a severe and prolonged drought that had a major effect on the park's ecosystem and was responsible for the deaths of many animals. That report found some 1,200 elephants living in the park — down from 1,600 just three years before.
TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty ImagesLION IN THE SUNThe census will be conducted over five days by technical teams who will survey the park both from the sky and ground, with the photographers on the ground trying to identify specific animals. Experts remain concerned about the populations of the large carnivores, most notably the lions, whose population has been declining by 100 every year.
TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty ImagesTIGHT SQUEEZEAn elephant grazes in Amboseli's tall grass. The previous drought hit the elephant population particularly hard as much of the usually green grass dried up, leaving the elephants without enough food.TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty ImagesSNOWY PEAKSAt 16,000 feet, Mount Kilimanjaro, just across the border in Tanzania, is Africa's highest; its glaciers are shrinking and its ice fields disappearing.
TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty ImagesTONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty ImagesPINK PARADETONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty ImagesLIONESS ON A ROAD SIGN
TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty ImagesLOOKING FOR WATERTONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty ImagesTHE LONG WAY HOMETONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty ImagesFLAMINGOES A-GO-GO