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Kenya has started its first wildlife census, Reuters reported. The country hopes to boost Conservation and identify threats to its numerous wildlife populations.

Rangers, researchers, and community members will count animals from helicopters and on land, from May until July in an effort to count each animal. The project will focus on endangered species to give an accurate count as well.

Endangered pangolins and Sable antelope will be followed closely. But other wildlife is under threat as well. Africa Wildlife Foundation reports that giraffe populations in the country have dropped 40% in the past three decades.

While many animals have been counted individually, this is the first time that a full count in every area has been undertaken. Kenya is very dependent on tourism for its economy. That revenue has dropped due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Patrick Omondi, acting director of Kenya’s new Wildlife Research and Training Institute told PRI.Org in an interview, “We’ve done wildlife censuses before, but mainly focused on highly trafficked species, like elephants and rhinos,” Omondi said. “We’ve never done a national census for all wildlife species.”

Over 1000 species live in the country and the count includes both land and marine species. Animals live across diverse ecosystems. “We know there are major gaps. We probably don’t know much about what is going on in northern Kenya,” said Winnie Kiiru, acting chairperson of the Kenya Wildlife Research Training Institute.

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