Fauna

In the 1970’s the Greater Lamu Eco-region used to support an elephant population of 26,000, within ten short years only 300 individuals remained.

Despite this mass slaughter, the African Elephant and a vast array of species still reside within the Lamu district. Species include Lion, huge herds of Buffalo and Reticulated Giraffe, Leopard, Hippo, Cheetah, Zebra, and a major breeding population of Coastal Topi, Waterbuck, Lesser Kudu, Desert Warthog, Spotted Hyaena and several primate species.

IUCN-listed forest dependent species within the district also include the conservation depended Harveys Duiker and Suni and the near threatened Lesser Elephant Shrew, the Somali Galago and the critically endangered Hirola (Hunter’s Hartebeest).

The critically endangered Ader’s Duiker is also very much present on Amu Ranch and the neighbouring habitats constituting a significant range extension for this species. This duiker has very specific habitat requirements found mostly in old growth forests and undisturbed tall thickets.

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The prolonged drought in Lamu is threatening the survival of many wild species including hippos, buffalo and lions. Wild animals have been forced to drink saline water from the Indian Ocean as natural watering holes rapidly dry out.

The rich fauna of the Lamu Archipelago has been under threat in recent months due to a prolonged dry spell across much of Kenya. The drought hit the region’s wildlife hard with animals suffering from severe thirst and starvation, but thankfully Lamu’s diverse species are making a come back.

As a solitary animal, it was extra special to capture these fantastic images taken from the Lamu Conservation Trust camera trap showing two cheetahs feeding on a topi. Cheetah mothers are known to bring back small, live antelopes back to her cubs to teach them how to chase, catch and kill. However, it seems this family is relatively experienced in capturing their prey.

The Lamu District was once home to the densest population of wildlife in Kenya and in 1972 boasted the second largest elephant population in Kenya estimated at over 21,000. Yet today the elephant population has plummeted catastrophically to perhaps numbering less than 100 individuals.