Tag Archives: Zebras

The Great Zebra Count at Nairobi National Park



The Kenya Wildlife Service, The Kenya Wildlife Festival and WildlifeDirect invite you to participate in the ‘GREAT ZEBRA COUNT’- the first of its kind citizen science project at the Nairobi National Park, on 1st and 2nd March 2015.

This year, Kenya will participate in the global World Wildlife Day celebrations by hosting a national celebration of her unique wildlife heritage through a week long national Wildlife Festival from 28th February to 7th March.

The GREAT ZEBRA COUNT is one of the festival’s activities. 

This citizen science initiative will allow the public to estimate the population sizes of zebras and giraffes within the Nairobi National park.  It involves the collection of photographs of Zebras and Giraffes taken by participating teams, which will be analysed using a new software, IBEIS, which identifies individual animals by their unique stripes and patterns.


The software will determine the number of zebra’s and giraffe in the Nairobi National Park, identify specific animals and where they are found. The IBEIS software was developed by 4 American universities. For more information, visit IBEIS.ORG


You are invited to form a team, identify a vehicle to use for the team, get your cameras ready and register your team here: http://www.standupshoutoutworld.org/#zebra-count


After registration, you will be provided with an information pack detailing how the census shall be conducted. The Great Zebra count is done in collaboration with Friends of Nairobi National Park (FONNaP) with the support of Nairobi Tented Camp.


The Wildlife Festival is an opportunity to share the country’s vision and encourage citizens’ participation in a future where people and wildlife coexist in harmony. The festival also presents an opportunity for the public to participate in contributing to important conservation science for the Kenya Wildlife Service.


The KWS Park Entry Fees will apply.  For further information contact [email protected]


Your participation in this activity will be highly appreciated.


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Saving Amboseli – Photos of Zebra translocation

Amboseli is famed for the spectacular views of Mt Kilimanjaro and the elephant population made famous by Cynthia Moss, Joyce Poole and the Amboseli Elephant Project.

Amboseli was severely affected by the Kenyan drought, and even though it is now officially over, this is no paradise for wildlife.

It is extremely hot and dusty and there is hardly any grazing. According to local scientists, over 95% of the wildebeest and nearly all the zebras and other wildlife perished from starvation in the drought. In addition the drought took 50 – 80% of the Maasai cattle herds. Predators lost their prey base, and lions, already critically endangered in Kenya also faced starvation so they turned to killing the few remaining cattle and other Maasai livestock.

According to the Maasai on the ground, in a normal year five cattle are killed by lions, currently lions attack five times per week!

To avert the situation the Kenya Wildlife Service mounted the largest wildlife operation in Africa, to translocate 7000 zebras and wildebeest to the park to provide food for the lions and no doubt, to restore the touristic attraction to Amboseli.

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We witnessed day 20 of the operation – the goal was to capture 50 zebras in a dawn operation. Everything started at 5.30am.

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The Kenya Wildlife Service helicopter rounds up zebras and drives them into a cleverly hidden funnel

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Once inside, the funnel is closed with curtains behind the zebras


The zebras are completely confused but not panicked. They settle down until the chute and trucks are in place.


Rangers make noise banging the floor and sides of funnel with sticks to move zebras into the chute.

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Zebras run from funnel into the chute and directly into the waiting truck

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KWS rangers and veterinarians count the individuals and make sure all is going according to plan

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49 zebras are captured. Zebras are compartmentalized in the truck in groups of 10

Six hours adn 300 km later the first zebra truck arrives in Amboseli

The container is opened and zebra makes first tentative steps out

then race for FREEDOM!

The last foal looked a little lost at first

But quickly followed the others running to the elephants in the swamp – causing a minor panic by the pachyderms!

The next day the zebras had figured out where the grass and water was. Of 49 captured 48 survived the first day. One individual ran directly into the swamp and the jaws of waiting hyenas. Its carcass was rescued and taken to a hungry lion pride wtih 6 cubs.

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