January 31, 2020
Seven Saint Louis Zoo staff members participated in this year’s Great Grevy’s Rally in Kenya, Africa, a national census of Grevy’s zebra.
Rally Day 1:
After picking up our registration packets the day before the rally in Nanyuki, we made the four-hour trek north to our campsite in Logologo. We woke up early on January 25, ready to count zebras! We count them by photographing their right sides so they can be documented by their stripe pattern in a computer system. There were four teams each consisting of two zookeepers, one ranger and one guide. We were each assigned one large block of land to look for zebras, some areas too big to fully cover in one day. We all saw our first zebra(s) in the first 15 minutes of the day! We felt so energized and excited for the hours to come! After a long day in the hot sun, we returned to camp to swap stories. Between the four teams we counted a total of 79 zebras.
Rally Day 2:
For the second day of the rally we all headed back out to our blocks to find more Grevy's. The second day is just as important as the first with marking and re-photographing the same individuals we saw the first day. With such large blocks we had more areas to cover that were not discovered the first day. One team, Jamie and Nicole, found one large heard consisting of 80 Grevy's zebras alone. This accounts for 5% of the total population in Kenya. All together over the two days of the rally the Logologo teams counted 350 zebras in total! We celebrated back at camp that night with all the drivers and rangers teaching us some cultural dances and sharing campfire stories.
The Great Grevy’s Rally 2020 is complete! The zoo teams’ photographs will be an important addition to the hundreds of photos taken during the Rally.