How can camels help the Grevy’s zebra?
Tracking zebras is hard work, but necessary. With less than 3,000 zebras left in the world, their population remains endangered and in jeopardy. To find these animals Grevy’s Zebras Trust (GZT) warriors often move through remote lava plains.
In years past, zebras have gone unprotected, at risk from poachers and their movements unmonitored. In 2015 the warriors, members of traditional Samburu tribe of Kenya, finally received an unexpected boon from GZT—the gift of two camels. The camels worked with the warriors, carrying their gear over long distances to help track the Grevy’s zebra through that oftentimes unforgiving terrain. Camels can go a long way without water, and can carry a large amount of supplies, including human cargo. The presence of the warriors is enough to scare away potential poachers, but they also do valuable community work, meeting with locals and discussing potential issues to solve them before they become real problems.
Samburu warriors have been overlooked by conservationists in the past, but no one knows the area better. They are the next generation of tribal leaders, and truly the future of their people, so getting them involved and caring for conservation is critical. They’ve also been enormously successful—with the help of the two camels, the warriors recorded more than 600 observations of wildlife along the route during just six weeks, and further outings are already on the horizon. These observations will help conservationists establish more accurate ranges for the different species recorded, especially when detecting the presence of animals in areas where there have been few studies.
The protection offered to the zebras is invaluable, and we look forward to seeing their photographs from the field soon!