Adventure Nature

Why There Are No Tigers in Kenya

Are there tigers in Kenya
Written by Teresa Mwangi

Talk of the Big Five in Africa and you will have a dozen destinations to catch them in action, but are there Tigers in Kenya?

Lions, cheetahs, leopards, jackals, wild dogs, zebras, warthogs, rhinos, and elephants are a Kenyan phenomenon and African by extension. However, tigers are non-existent in Kenya and the African continent for both geographical and scientific reasons.

Is There A Tiger In Kenya?

There is no Tiger in Kenya. The fact that tigers have never historically lived on the African continent is an extremely intriguing aspect of the tiger’s absence. All other wildlife is in Africa except this one phenomenal member of the Big Cat family who lives here. This answers questions bordering on whether are there tigers in Kenya.

Incidentally, Asia prides itself in being the bonafide host for tigers globally. You will find these majestic carnivores in some parts of Asia, including the following countries.

A tiger

A tiger. Photo/Pexels

  • India
  • Russia
  • Thailand
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore
  • Vietnam
  • Philippines
  • Myanmar (Burma)
  • Cambodia
  • Laos
  • Brunei
  • East Timo

Zoologists and other reputable voices cite that there were a lot of obstacles that hurdled the migration of tigers from Asia to Africa.  One of the attributable factors is the massive geographic distance between the two continents. The closest you get to Asia is when you are in North Africa, yet, there is a 7246.81 kilometres distance from this point.

The Red Sea, Gulf of Suez, and Suez Canal also serve as the border between Asia and Africa. These water bodies made it extremely difficult for tigers to cross over to Africa. Another factor that blocked their migration is the geo-climatic conditions are the dense woods and grasslands that characterize Asia.  These are fit for habitation by tigers.

In contrast, Africa has wild savannas, and deserts, and other varied ecosystems found in Africa, the dense woods and grasslands of Asia are a better fit for tigers. From a scientific point of view Tigers would have faced many difficulties surviving and thriving in these various habitats.

Additionally, tigers are notoriously territorial creatures, and the existence of other great predators in Africa, like lions and hyenas, would have probably resulted in fierce rivalry for food. Lions and tigers share an ecological niche. Therefore, a hypothesis is that the existence of lions in Africa served as a natural barrier that prevented tigers from crossing over.

Which Country In Africa Has Tigers?

As you ponder on are there tigers in Kenya, South Africa is an exception. It’s one of the only African nations that still permits the transactional keeping of tigers. They are kept for breeding purposes and some sort of hunting captivity thrill. This is despite international treaty decisions to forbid the commercial breeding of tigers in captivity for commerce in their parts or derivatives.

Obliviously, there was a ban on international tiger trade in 1987 and South Africa’s commercialization of tigers came into the picture in 2007. An international treaty barring this came into effect but not much of it yielded results. The treaty maintained that no part or derivative of South Africa’s captive breeding of tigers should be allowed into the market.

A tiger

A tiger. Photo/Pexels

Breeding tigers in captivity earned Mzansi millions of rand from the sale of breeding byproducts, employed in conventional medicine. Some of these byproducts include blood, bile, fat and bones. South Africa is now under pressure to publicly pledge to put an end to commercial captive breeding, keeping, and hunting. The world is focused on having Mzansi cease commercializing tigers by selling some of their body parts.

Still, why South Africa hasn’t done this yet is a mystery. Pundits argue that the economic benefits that come with such a trade are the force behind the refusal to honour the treaty.

Why Are Tigers Not Found In Africa?

Here is another theory to are there tigers in Kenya. According to ancient history, tigers originated in Africa. Researchers assume that one group of Felidae moved to Asia around 2 million years ago and settled there.

Nevertheless, the actual cause of the tigers’ absence from Africa remains unknown although scientists have another theory. They purport that after crossing over to Asia, the climate favoured them more than it did in Africa. Savannahs make up a larger portion of the African wild but tigers don’t thrive well.

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About the author

Teresa Mwangi

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, loves travelling and telling stories about tour and travel in Africa by every angle.

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