Some of the species native to the forest habitats are found nowhere else in the world. Known as one of the world's most famous travel destinations, Kenya is renowned for its remarkable diversity of landscapes, animals, and cultures.
The two important Kenyan wildlife areas are species specific; If Masai Mara is perfect for witnessing the Great Migration, then Amboseli is for elephants. Whether it is the rhinoceros making a comeback at Lewa or a lion roaring across the savannah, Kenya has it all. A tropical country like Kenya is richer in biodiversity since conditions are favorable for many species to flourish and thus give rise to meaningful ecological relationships.
In the Masai Mara, the plains boast of the annual wildebeest migration, and though the reserves see plenty of cheetahs, it's mainly known for the large pride of lions. The Mara is home to both, carnivores like spotted hyena, jackal and bat-eared fox as well as large grazing herds of zebra, giraffe, buffalo, gazelle and topi. A variety of antelopes like hartebeest, waterbuck, dik-dik, duiker, klipspringer, oribi and the rare roan are also part of the diverse fauna. The Mara and Talek rivers have crocodiles and hippos in abundance, while Kenya's 1100 bird species find shelter in the acacia woodlands.
Famous for its elephants, the Amboseli National Park also boasts of some endangered rhinos mostly seen at the Lewa Conservancy, a project meant for their recovery. A visit to Samburu may help spot leopards and the two endemic species, the Grevy's zebra and the reticulated giraffe, found particularly only in northern parts of Kenya.
Conservation in Kenya: Kenya's diverse ecosystems are currently looming under the unfavorable conditions of drought, climate change, and deforestation. To top it all, the inadequacy of the governing bodies, as well as the increasing population decreases the sustainability of the ecosystem. As they foresee the catastrophe, many public and private partnerships have come together to take significant steps towards conserving the most important and principal species like the African elephant; rhinoceros and lion that are struggling to survive. Several other endangered mammals include Grevy's zebra, roan, wild dog, sable, and sitatunga have also found respite.
For Kenya to ensure biodiversity conservation, protection of wild animals, especially the endangered species and the creation of protected areas is crucial. Conservation-friendly use of private lands in the buffer zones around reserves with the help of economic incentives will help significantly in the protection of Kenya's wildlife.
The author is an environmentalist with a keen interest in Africa's ecology. He is an avid reader of Africa's diverse culture and history and has recently made a short documentary on Kenyan wildlife.