Sudan, the last male white rhino

Sudan, the last male northern white rhino passed away on 19th March 2018 due to age-related complications. Well, veterinarians performed a sort of euthanasia, so to speak, after Sudan’s age-related complications proved too much for the poor “lone bachelor”. Doubtless, after his status as the last male northern white rhino was made official in 2014 most probably a thought occurred to you, “I should make a point of seeing this rhino before it’s too late,” but you kept procrastinating the planning of your Kenyan safari and here we are. Now it’s too late. As a tribute to the late Sudan, here are a 5 endangered species to see in Kenya before it’s too late.

  1. King Lion

An angry lion

Yes, the great African lion is listed as vulnerable. Arguably the face of wildlife in Africa, the African lion is now mostly found in Chad, Angola, Tanzania, and Sudan despite at one time having ruled all of Africa, southwest Asia, and even parts of Europe. In Kenya, there are decent populations of lions in the Great Rift Valley and on the southern border. Take a trip to Masai Mara National Reserve and you’ll be sure to spot a number of lions doing what they do best – ruling the jungle.

  1. The Grevy’s Zebra

Two Grevy's zebra standing across each other

Not only is the Grevy’s zebra threatened but it’s also only found in Kenya and Ethiopia. The imperial zebra, as it’s also known is the largest of the three species of zebra. The other two are the plains zebra and the mountain zebra. The good news is that reports have shown that imperial zebra populations are actually on the rise in Kenya. But the fact of their exclusivity to Kenya and Ethiopia only adds to the appeal of seeing these zebras. Again, Masai Mara is ideal for spotting this rare species of zebra.

  1. Black Rhinoceros

A black rhino walking

It’s not a good time to be a rhino, apparently. Rhinos are the second largest land mammals after elephants. The black rhino is critically endangered despite all the efforts to save this species. While not quite to the level of the northern white rhino, the black rhino population is quite low. Most black rhinos are currently protected in conservancies such is Ol Pejeta in Laikipia, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, and Nairobi National Park just to name a few.

  1. African Elephant

A mother elephant and her baby walking

In the 1990s, the African elephant was endangered. However, thanks to anti-poaching efforts the species is now described as nearly threatened. This is still not good but is better than the former. Elephants are the largest land mammals and facing extinction or not they are a wonder to behold and worth taking a trip to Kenya to see. Shimba Hills National Reserve has a large number of these elephants and would be easiest to spot there. The reserve is located 33 km from the coastal city of Mombasa so you could be spotting elephants and sunbathing on the beach all in a day.

  1. The Cheetah

A cheetah lying in the grass

The fastest land animal is struggling to outpace its own extinction. Cheetahs can clock speeds of between 110 km/h to 120 km/h (60 mph to 75 mph). That’s enough to get this wild feline a speeding ticket on some roads. Farmers are the biggest threat to cheetahs in Kenya. The farmers hunt cheetahs down to protect their livestock. Efforts are underway to curb human-wildlife conflict in the country but the problem still persists. Masai Mara comes up again as the ideal place to see cheetahs. If you can keep up that is.

Three of the animals on this list are part of the famous Big Five and while on your Kenyan safari you can cross the Cape buffalo and the leopard off that list as an added bonus. The fun does not stop there. Here are 9 bucket list items you can complete on an African safari.

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