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The African farmer who brings fresh water to thirsty wild animals

Patrick Kilonzo Mwalua drives hours every day to bring fresh water to thirsty wild animals at drought-striken Tsavo West National Park, Kenya.

Patrick Kilonzo Mwalua, 41, drives a rented tanker truck for more than 50 kilometres at least 4 times a week to bring fresh water to thirsty wild animals at the Tsavo West National Park, Kenya.

Patrick Kilonzo Mwalua water
Patrick Kilonzo Mwalua unloading a truckload of water  Patrick Kilonzo © Mwalua/Facebook

Zebras, elephants and buffalos wait for him at the water hole. Since November 2016, the farmer brings 12,000 litres of fresh water at the hole so that animals can survive heatwaves and drought – like the one Mwalua experienced in 2009. In that year 40 per cent of wild animals died due to the lack of water.

A single thirsty elephant can drink up to 200 litres of water at a time and this proves how much the farmer’s work is important. “The animals come running the moment they see the truck, they even know the timings,” Mwalua told AFP. As a truckload of water costs about 240 euros, Patrick founded the Tsavo Volunteer and launched a crowdfunding campaign at GoFundMe. He aims to raise 300,000 dollars to launch a long-running project and buy a tanker truck and dig another borehole. To date, 277,000 dollars have been raised.

Climate change and drought in Kenya and Tanzania

The Tsavo West National Park’s main source of water is the Jipe lake, on the border between Kenya and Tanzania. The lake lost a huge amount of water, nearly 10 metres over a decade. This led to a water crisis in many villages depending on the lake for their livelihoods, as well as it severely affected wildlife in the area. This is why Mwalua drives hours every day: to bring fresh water, until the much-awaited rain comes again.

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