The parched territory of Kenya’s Tsavo West National Park paints a grim picture of how living in the extreme conditions can be. With the long, dry spells in summers, there’s barely any hope of rainfall and the wildlife gazes with utter helplessness in their eyes.
However, these animals know that if they hear the rumbling sound of a truck, then it is good news for them. For the last six months, this truck has been a harbinger of hope for these four-legged creatures serving them water to sustain themselves.
A man called Patrick Kilonzo Mwalua drives a huge truck containing 3,170 gallons (12000 litres) of water to fill dried-out watering holes in the National Park. The animals, including elephants, zebras, water buffaloes, antelopes keep waiting for Mwalua in the hope that they will be able to quench their thirst with the water he brings.
Starting in September 2016, Mwalua filled his truck and started travelling 55 miles (89 km), four times a week, to give water to the animals. The long-time conservation activist believes that he is the only hope for these animals. If he was not there, then the animals would have died of thirst as it barely rains in this barren and dry region. He estimates that each truckload of water costs about US$250 and he delivers about two or three truckloads in one day.
Mwalua, now popular as the waterman, is a pea farmer in his local village. He came up with the idea after seeing firsthand the harsh effects of climate change in his village and country. He also runs a conservation project called Tsavo Volunteers. The 41-year-old also visits local schools to talk to children about the wildlife which is their legacy.
He raises the money for water through his GoFundMe page, where he has written, “this has got us all very worried of losing many animals from antelopes to elephants if nothing is done very urgently. Some years back we lost many animals including elephants due to a prolonged drought. Elephants are becoming endangered from poaching and we need to save the ones we have left by providing water for them until the drought peril is over.
We have many elephants concentrating in very few water holes fighting to drink water and this has made the smaller elephants lacking water. They become very thirsty and they end up spending a lot of time and energy walking very far distances with young ones searching for water.”
His Facebook page has photos of how animals flock to drink water after he reaches the spot and fills the dried-out holes.
Mwalua is doing a noble service, but he is not sure what will happen to these animals if he misses out on delivering water. He is concerned about how global warming is affecting the climate of the entire world where places are remaining dry almost all throughout the year.
The Logical Indian salutes Mr Mwalua for the brilliant work he is doing. We hope more people like him join the force to conserve animals in different parts of the world. He is a true inspiration.