Locust Swarm

Across the Horn of Africa locust invasions have reached dangerous levels. Here in Namunyak, Northern Kenya locusts have been descending on farms, destroying crops and even leaving pastures bare of vegetation. Climate change has created exceptional breeding conditions for these desert locusts. Locusts usually live solitary lives, but, when the right environmental conditions align (like after a good rainy season), they become intensely attracted to each other, change color, and often grow longer wings and become more muscular. They transform into a formidable swarm. One tonne of locusts eats as much food in one day as about 10 elephants, 25 camels or 2,500 people. The insects can destroy at least 200 tonnes of vegetation per day. Though locust swarms impact about one in 10 people on Earth, it’s quite likely that we’re on the tip of the iceberg — how will billions of insects react to changing weather? What there is to eat hundreds of miles ahead?

Locusts cover the sky in Namunyak Conservancy. Photos by: Katie Bryden
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