When the rains first started to fall last month, it was hard to contain our enthusiasm. But we couldn’t get too excited, because as amazing as it was to see rain after such a brutal drought, we needed more than just a few showers to put this crisis behind us.
The good news is that the rains have fallen steadily, regularly, and widely across Greater Amboseli and we’re finally breathing a sigh of relief. The crisis is over, for now.
We will feel the effects of this drought for years as wildlife, livestock, and grasslands recover to their pre-drought levels. For now, from the Chyulu Hills to the slopes of Kilimanjaro, the land is looking lush.
The bad news is that we’ll probably be in a similar situation again in the not-too-distant future. A new study highlights the fact that the chance of drought is increasing annually in East Africa. As it stands, this year’s rain forecast is still below normal, despite the rains we’re seeing.
We already suspected that climate change is making this current natural drought cycle more severe. But this new data has uncovered a shocking truth: human-caused climate change has made severe drought 100 times more likely in East Africa than it was in the preindustrial era.
So while we celebrate the current rains, we’re also focusing our efforts on sustainability and climate resiliency. Land-use planning, rangelands restoration, grazing plans, and carbon sequestration will all play an increasing role as we seek to protect the wildlife and wild lands of East Africa.
Timelapse: Josh Clay