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Flash flood sweeps away elephant research camp in Kenya

A research camp with environmental organization Save the Elephants (STE) in Samburu National Reserve in Kenya fell victim to a flash flood last week, after the Ewaso Ng’iro River broke its banks. Fortunately, none of the researchers or employees were hurt, but the camp lost most of the equipment—including tents, food, computers, and collars—and data in the flood.

Operations Manager Lucy King estimated it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to rebuild the facility. STE is now seeking donations to help with rebuilding efforts.

“We would like to extend our gratitude to our donors and partners who have already pledged funds for the rebuilding of the facility. They recognize that the elephant research projects we are conducting are too important to halt due to this calamity,” says Operations Manager Lucy King.

Another camp, the Elephant Watch Safari Camp, was also struck, leaving some employees trapped in trees for hours. Tourists and others were able to seek higher ground.

Two bridges in the Samburu National Reserve were also destroyed.

STE was founded by Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton, one of the world’s leading elephant experts. The organization works both on elephant research and conservation initiatives.

“It’s nothing short of a disaster, but we will take a deep breath and rebuild,” Iain Douglas-Hamilton told the Telegraph.

Infant elephant in Kenya. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.

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