Endemic Animals in Kenya

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Climatic changes combined with illegal trade in wildlife and logging has contributed to the rise in endemic animals. The population of the endemic animals in this list has been constantly dwindling even though they are not isolated geographically. Nevertheless, a few initiatives continue to actively protect these endangered species in Kenya from extinction.

Endemic Marine Life
Scientists have attributed more than 15% of global carbon emissions to deforestation.  The end result has been elevated global temperatures causing 13% of sea ice to melt each decade. Consequently, sea level has risen by 10cm since 1970. Additionally, overfishing and poaching continually threaten the marine wildlife. For these reasons, the population of marine animals has reduced by 36% in the last four decades.

Big 5 marine endemic animals in Kenya:

  • Sperm Whale which gets its name from the sperm organ that fills up most of its enormous head.
  • Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins
  • Hammerhead Shark so called for their distinctive head shape that acts like a radio antenna to enable them to sweep for prey with much ease.
  • Great White Sharks that lie and prey along every continental coast apart from Antartica
  • Humpback whales are seen at Watamu from early June to September during their annual migration from Antartica to warmer waters for breeding.

Humpback whale

Sea cow, striped dolphins, and killer whales have also been sighted in Watamu, Lamu and Kisite-Mpunguti. Kenya Marine Mammal Network (KMMN), created in 2011, further protects these Kenya’s dolphins and whales. This joint force between KWS and Kenya Marine Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) serves to document information on marine life.

Endemic Land Animals
Deforestation, poaching and man-wildlife conflict impede the growth of the most popular wild mammals. The endemic animals in Kenya include African Lion, Grevy’s Zebra, Thomson’s Gazelle, Lesser Kudu, African Elephant, Black Rhino and Hunter’s Antelope.


Lesser Kudu found in Marsabit National Park

Rhino Charge is among the top initiatives in conserving the black rhinos in the Aberdare ecosystem. The off-road motor competition has gained in popularity since its inception in February 1989 and consequently increased the funds raised but also. Each team in the 65 competing vehicles pledge to raise a sponsorship fee between 750.000 KES and 1.5 Million KES. towards the building of the electric fence around Aberdare National Park.

Rhino Ark Charitable Trust, the NGO behind the organization of the Rhino Charge oversees conservation of Kenya’s mountain range systems.

Best Destinations to View Endemic Animals
Visit Diani Marine Park for a great opportunity to swim with the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins. Watamu and Kisite-Mpunguti Marine National Parks offer unforgettable views of whales leaping in and out of the ocean.

The “tusker” elephants well known for the tusks that grow all the way to the ground are commonly found in the Tsavo ecosystem. Recently in March, a poaching incident of the oldest and largest African elephant, Satao II, baffled the country yet again. Two years earlier, KWS rangers found his predecessor, Satao, mutilated after having been killed in a similar manner with a poisoned arrow.


Tusker Elephant in Tsavo National Park

Lewa Conservancy oversees the safeguarding of the Mountain Elephant, Black Rhino, and Grevy’s Zebra. Following the success of the Conservancy, Rhinos have been reintroduced in their ancestral habitats such as Samburu. The rehabilitation of Ngare Ndare Forest as a migration corridor for the Elephants to Mt. Kenya has mitigated the man-wildlife conflict.

Take a look at our website to plan your next educational trip about endemic animals in Kenya. Choose to tour around a national park or marine reserves in Kenya.


1 Comment

  1. James Olsen

    May 17, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    This article is wildly misinformed. To begin with, do you know what the meaning of “endemic” is?????

    In the article you have mentioned several animals which we not only do not usually encounter off the Kenyan coast, and even if there were sightings in Kenya they are definitely found elsewhere in the world.

    I get that you are trying to promote yourself and other companies with the least effort possible, but please spend at least a couple more minutes researching into a topic that others seek information from

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