Project History & Aims
This project works with a number of conservation partners to conserve Grevy’s zebra in Kenya.
The Grevy’s zebra in-situ conservation activities are run through the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) Grevy’s Zebra European Endangered Species programme (EEP) which is coordinated by Marwell Wildlife. The core activities focus in the far north of Kenya, the Milgis ecosystem, on wild population monitoring, evaluation, education and emergency conservation response.
The Great Grevy’s Rally (GGR) was conceived by members of Kenya’s Grevy’s Zebra Technical Committee as a means to census the endangered population of Grevy’s zebra. A census is a methodical count of a species’ population. Grevy’s Zebra Trust, Mpala Research Centre, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Marwell Wildlife and Northern Rangelands Trust’s community conservancies constantly monitor Grevy’s zebra populations and demographics across northern Kenya. However in order to accurately estimate the population, a thorough ground census needs to be conducted.
Using sophisticated stripe recognition software to analyze the number of sighted and re-sighted individuals over two consecutive days, the population size of Grevy’s zebras in northern Kenya will be estimated. This methodology will also provide insights on the age and sex structure of the Grevy’s zebra population in each area to assess whether or not the overall Grevy’s zebra population is stable, growing or decreasing. The population estimate and distribution determined by the GGR will inform future conservation and management initiatives.
Grevy’s Zebra Collaring
Over the past 10 years, 35 collars have been deployed in the Wamba management zone, in northern Kenya. In February 2015, the most recent collaring mission took place in the remote location of South Horr. This is the furthest north that the species has been systematically studied in this way and represents the margin of their current functional population distribution.
A team of 17 people including Kenya Wildlife Service, Marwell and Lewa set off to collar four female Grevy’s zebra. Due to the weather and environmental conditions, this turned out to be most difficult and demanding collaring operation to date. The vet proved to be exceptional, making “lob” shots of over 60m in range, in high winds to hit the mark! This experienced and dedicated team did eventually manage to collar two animals which was seen as a successful mission given the circumstances. Good samples were collected for blood, hair and a variety of body measurements.
The Milgis Ecosystem
Phase 2 of the Northern Kenya Grevy’s Zebra Project (NKGZP)
The Northern Kenya Grevy’s Zebra Project focuses on a previously unstudied population of Grevy’s zebra and their relationships with pastoral communities in and around the South Horr Valley.
The three goals of the project during this phase were:
- (1) To understand the population and ecology of Grevy’s zebra, including movements between the South Horr study area and the adjacent landscape, and their relationships with pastoralist communities;
- (2) To build capacity for wildlife conservation and community engagement through training of local post-graduate students; and
- (3) To foster community participation in wildlife conservation.
Phase 2 has now been completed and Phase 3 of the Northern Kenya Grevy’s Zebra Projects will represent a significant shift in hopes and expectations for this area. By the end of this next period, it is hoped to be able to quantify impacts of human activities on Grevy’s zebra and begin to see tangible benefits accruing to local communities through the conservation process led by Enrita Lesoloyia.
Ultimately, increases in the abundance of Grevy’s zebra, and enhanced diversity of other species will provide a meaningful measure of biological success and ecosystem health over the longer term.
How is Banham Zoo Supporting Grevy’s Zebra Conservation?
In 2016 Banham Zoo donated £2000 to Grevy’s Zebra Conservation.
We have supported this project since 2004, donating a total of £25,000.
For more information visit: https://www.marwell.org.uk/conservation/news/26/the-great-grevys-rally.
Photos courtesy of Marwell Wildlife/Great Grevy’s Rally