2% of the world’s rarest zebras wiped out in Kenya’s relentless drought
A dik-diks of dik-diks
When dik-diks are rare, they are so extremely rare that they can get left behind in the wake of the herds of zebras and wildebeests.
But there’s no herd of zebras in Africa, which is why the animals have become so much more valuable since the drought began just weeks ago.
A herd of 50 or so captive zebras has become the first to die out of a drought in Africa.
That’s a pretty big number: only 40 dik-diks were killed out of more than 20,000 zebras in the same geographic area because of the drought.
As the drought has continued through September, the number of dead dik-diks continues to rise, and a dik-diks of a thousand is estimated to be more than 20 times rarer that of a single zebras.
The numbers continue to rise, reaching 2,000 dead in July, and 9,000 dead so far, as the global water crisis spreads to the middle of Africa.
An aerial view of the dead dik-diks
“Dik-diks are very hardy, and they haven’t really been threatened at all by drought in Africa,” Andrew Tkalcik, director of the Center for Conservation Biology at the University of California at Berkeley told the New York Times.
“They’re always just sort of going about their business and getting the dik-diks to eat, or they’re just feeding the young, or they’re just eating the old. So you don’t see them dying out of drought.”
Tkalcik says dik-diks are one of the most important conservation species in Africa — the most threatened, he said. And if it’s not a drought-related crisis, it’s a plague of feral goats or a disease.
The dik-diks are one of the most important species in Africa, where they are threatened by disease and poaching for their meat.
Tkalcik thinks that the drought in East Africa could be the last straw in a long string of stresses in the region that has made the animal virtually impossible to