Northern five animals of Kenya

Northern five animals of Kenya : Africa’s Big Five are undoubtedly familiar to you. On a safari, most tourists would prefer to see the lion, leopard, Cape buffalo, elephant, and rhinoceros in Africa. On wildlife drives, the Big Five serve as a sort of safari check list. No other African nation can compare to Kenya’s biodiversity, which includes almost 25,000 animal species. In other words, there are a tonne more Kenyan creatures than just the Big Five to see on a safari. If you enjoy checking things off of lists, you should look for Kenya’s Northern Five in addition to the Big Five.

The Big Five of Africa have some sad beginnings. The most lethal and sought-after big game animals to bring home as a hunting trophy were thought to be the rhinoceros, African elephant, lion, and cape buffalo. Fortunately, trophy hunting was outlawed in Kenya in 1977. As a result, savvy marketers turned the Big Five into a list of the creatures you had to see on a safari in Kenya.

Lists of other species that safari tourists might also want to tick off appeared from the Big Five. There are the Little Five, the Ugly Five, and the Northern Five of Kenya (also known as the Samburu Special Five)

The Samburu National Reserve and Loisaba Conservancy are two locations where you may find the Northern Five, five Kenyan animals that can only be found in northern Kenya above the equator. The Reticulated Giraffe, Grevy’s Zebra, Beisa Oryx, Gerenuk, and Somali Ostrich are known as the Kenya Northern Five. If you do manage to see all five species, it will be really special because they are all endangered species.

Grevy’s Zebra

Do you realise there are three different species of zebra? The zebra species most in risk of extinction is the Grevy’s zebra, which was given that name in 1882 by French naturalist Émile Oustalet in honour of Jules Grévy, the first president of France. Only about 2000 Grevy’s zebras now exist in the wild; roughly 100 of them reside in Ethiopia and the rest in northern Kenya.

You can recognise a Grevy’s zebra right away since it is very different from the plains zebra. The Grevy’s zebra, has extremely distinguishable “Mickey Mouse ears” and white bellies. In addition to being the largest zebra species, they are more closely related to wild donkeys than horses. The common zebra, on the other hand, is most closely linked to the horse.

If you can keep them still long enough to count, the Grevy zebra has roughly 80 total stripes, which end at the bottom of their tummies. The tummy then becomes white. A horse’s tail-like tail with flowing black and white hair distinguishes the plains zebra’s tail from it.

Particularly the males, they have fierce territoriality. Similar to the plains zebra, you won’t find vast herds of these animals.

Reticulated giraffe

The Reticulated giraffe is one of four giraffe species that are so genetically distinct from one another that contrasting one with the other is akin to contrasting a vervet monkey with a baboon. There are only about 8500 Reticulated giraffes left in the wild, despite being the species most frequently found in zoos.

Only Somalia, southern Ethiopia, and northern Kenya are home to the Reticulated Giraffe. They are smaller than Masai giraffes, which are the most prevalent species to observe on a safari in Kenya.

However, the characteristic that sets giraffes apart from other species is their spots. The spots on a giraffe are as distinctive as a person’s fingerprints, despite the fact that all Reticulated giraffes have hexagonal spots divided by bright white lines. Each giraffe has a unique pattern of spots.

The greatest threat to giraffes has been habitat degradation and poaching, with their populations being wiped out while the world watches hunting of elephants and rhinos. The Loisaba Conservation Trust, San Diego Zoo Global, and other organisations collaborated to establish the Twiga Walinzi (Giraffe Guards).

Five local villagers known as the Twiga Walinzi keep an eye on 120 camera traps spread out across the Loisaba Conservancy and Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy in order to compile a database of photos used to identify people. They keep tabs on people, take away snares, alert rangers to poaching situations, and develop community education programmes on giraffe conservation.


Gerenuks are almost as elusive as leopards. Its name, which translates as “giraffe-necked” in Somali, designates an antelope species related to the gazelle. They stand out due to their lengthy necks.

Gerenuks can reach higher foliage by standing up on their rear legs and using their long necks to reach it. Males even choose to live alone. They dwell in tiny groups.

There are only about 95,000 left today, classified as threatened. Considering the Grevy’s zebra and Reticulate giraffe, that might not seem like much, but this rare animal is in danger from habitat loss and humans. Gerenuks are very timid.

In the Loisaba Conservancy, a beisa oryx grazes while sporting a black mask on its face and black bands around its two front legs. According to legend, the unicorn myth has its roots in the beisa oryx.

Beisa Oryx

Your native continent’s oryx, the beisa, is considered to be the source of the unicorn story, making it your spirit animal. According to Aristotle and Pliny the Elder, an oryx whose horn snapped off served as the “prototype” for the unicorn. They do not grow back once their horns are broken. The Beisa Oryx’s horns also line up to appear as one horn when viewed from a particular angle.

A wise villager is said to have disguised his donkey as an oryx from the Beisa region in order to go hunting. The beisa oryx is extremely intelligent in addition to being shy. As a result, the villager would dress his donkey in a mask and fasten branches to its head to imitate long horns. The villagers would get closer and closer before shooting an oryx with an arrow while the group of beisa oryx slowly relaxed around the donkey in disguise.

You’ll enjoy learning about the myths surrounding the unicorn and the masked donkey as you observed a group of these animals grazing. According to the IUCN’s classification, there are only about 13,000 of these animals left in the wild.

Northern five animals of Kenya
Beisa Oryx

The Somali Ostrich

The Somali ostrich was only recently recognised as a separate species of ostrich. Its blue neck and legs are what set it apart from other ostriches. Some ostriches have pink legs and necks. The legs and neck of the Somali ostrich turn a vivid blue colour during mating season.

The Somali ostrich, also known as the blue-neck ostrich, is mostly found in Somalia; therefore, the name. It is also found in northern Kenya and north-eastern Ethiopia. Sadly, the Somali ostrich is listed on the IUCN Red List as vulnerable due to the political instability of Somalia and the absence of any effective wildlife conservation measures there.

The eggs of the Somali ostrich are frequently poached for use as ornaments, protective symbols on churches, and water containers. The ostrich has been hunted for its skin for leather.

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