A man in Kenya’s Tsavo West National Park has been hailed a hero for traveling hundreds of kilometers every day to deliver fresh water to animals in need.
They’ve come to know the water man by the rumble of his engine. And his lifesaving cargo.
“There is completely no water, so the animals are depending on humans. If we don’t help them, they will die.”
“It is now very dry in Tsavo and water has become a very precious commodity because there is a shortage of water due to lack of rain. We are not expecting any rain until November and this has got us all very worried of losing many animals from antelopes to elephants if nothing is done very urgently.”
Mwalua uses his own resources to fills the bone-dry watering holes in the region, driving for hours on end every day to haul water to where it’s most desperately needed.
“My friends, todays the number of animals was so huge and the waterhole was dry dry dry!! Last night big herd of buffaloes drunk all the water and i just arrived at the right time and found animals waiting for water,
“It was great to see almost all types of animals at the same waterhole but at the same time very sad with insufficient water. Water is life and we need more water until March when we are expecting rains,”
Mwalua was forced to transport water to the park as the animals which include elephants, buffaloes and zebras after drought dried most of its water sources.
Mwalua, who is a pea farmer in his local village, came up with the idea after seeing firsthand the grim toll climate change has taken in his native land. In the last year especially, he says, the area has seen precious little precipitation, leaving animals to die of thirst in these cracked lands.
“We aren’t really receiving rain the way we used to,” he says. “From last year, from June, there was no rain completely. So I started giving animals water because I thought, ‘If I don’t do that, they will die.'”
Between road trips, Mwalua runs a conservation project called Tsavo Volunteers. The 41-year-old also visits local schools to talk to children about the wildlife that is their legacy.
“I was born around here and grew up with wildlife and got a lot of passion about wildlife,” he says. “I decided to bring awareness to this so when they grow up they can protect their wildlife.”
Last year, Mwalua started renting a truck and driving water to several locations in Tsavo West. His mission would extend to several trucks, keeping him on the road for hours every day as he drives dozens of hard miles between stops.
“The truck is heavy and doesn’t go very fast,” he says. “We have to be very patient and go deliver water.”
In the last few months, Kenya has been ravaged by drought that has forced President Uhuru Kenyatta to declare it a national disaster.
The drought has not only affected Kenyans but also its wildlife after water points and vegetation dried up in most of the national parks and game reserves.
Watch a video Tsavo National Park below: