Although some animals have thrived in the less crowded parks during the pandemic, Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on conservation on the African continent and the millions of livelihoods which depend on ecotourism. In March 2020, Kenya abruptly closed its border in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. The country’s billion-dollar tourism industry came to a screeching halt, losing over 80% of revenue. It is not expected to recover until 2024. This has triggered Kenya’s most ambitious conservation effort yet: counting every single animal and marine life in all 58 national parks across the country for the first time ever. The great wildlife census will be critical to understanding and protecting the more than 1,000 species which are native to Kenya, some of which have seen alarming population declines over the last few decades, according to scientists.
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