Westgate Conservancy, northern Kenya– the Grevy’s Zebra (Equus Grevy) is in trouble, there are only 2812 known animals left, a number well down from ~15,000 in the 1970’s. Officially listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature,a primary threat to the species is land degradation from over-grazing of livestock. The distance between available grazing areas and water for the zebras has increased, so Grevy's mothers are forced to make long and more frequent journeys to drink, resulting in high foal mortality. Repeated droughts in East Africa in recent years only add to the environmental pressures on survival of this species.
The Grevy’s Zebra Trust (GZT) is a Kenyan independent wildlife conservation trust that is actively working with conservancies and communities within the Grevy’s habitat area to ensure the survival of this special zebra species. The main aim of these conservancies is to increase community engagement in wildlife protection while finding new ways to maintain their pastoral way of life.
My journey in August 2018 to document the Grevy’s Zebra began at the GZT permanent field camp in Westgate Community Conservancy one of the three regions that the GZT monitors. Over a 10-day period I travelled extensively, especially in the El Barta region, before completing my work at the Melako Community Conservancy. Through these images my aim is to tell the story, not only of the zebra and the work of the GZT but also of the land, its people and their evolving participation in the conservation process.
I witnessed the education of the next generation of land managers, young ‘Grassland warriors’, drove rugged roads with armed ‘GZT Ambassadors’ and walked dusty trails alongside ‘Camel patrol warriors’. Data about Zebra sightings is entered into a bespoke smart phone app provided by the GZT and downloaded by an environmental scientist. These were ‘down in the dirt’, long, hot days spent with a dedicated group of inspiring local conservationists. To find out more about the GZT trust visit http://www.grevyszebratrust.org