While the overall wild elephant population on the continent of Africa has seriously declined, from “as many as 10 million” in 1930 to only 415,000 in 2018, bringing the extinction of the species so very near, Kenya has hopeful news when it was recently announced that its current elephant population has more than doubled, when looking back to 1989. The statistics for poaching are also encouraging, as stricter enforcement of Kenya’s stronger anti-poaching laws, which includes increased fines and longer jail sentences, are saving elephant lives.
But we are cautioned nonetheless.
If our elephants are ever to stand a chance to survive in this world there must be a way for humans and wild elephants to co-exist. As deforestation and an increasing human population continues to push elephants out of their natural habitats and the clash (human-elephant conflict) heightens our elephants’ lives are threatened.
This (human-elephant conflict) is now “emerging as the major threat to elephant conservation.” John Waweru, director of Kenya’s Wildlife Service put it best when he said, “The elephants are one of the natural resources that have been caught up in human greed on one hand and human need on the other. So there we have a dichotomy.”
The following news report from NTV Kenya explains more.
Newscaster: An Elephant Milestone: Cases of elephant poaching in Kenya have been on the decline “Well for years conserving Kenya’s elephants has been a mammoth task, mostly due to the demand and supply of ivory. But strides have been made and according to KWS , Kenya’s elephant population has grown steadily from 16,000 back in 1989 to 38,400 by the end of 2019. This annonment… this announcement was made during today’s commemoration of the wild elephant day held at the Amboseli National Park under the theme ‘Bringing the World Closer to Help Elephants’.
Field Reporter: “Christened Ole Lenku (“…named in honour of Kajiado governor Ole Lenku’s father…” ) this elephant’s giant fall to the ground was part of a collaring exercise used in understanding the movement patterns of elephants for conservation and management efforts. The species has been endangered for years with poaching being the major threat. But on this World Elephant Day their future looks somewhat promising.
Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary, Tourism: “Our number of poached elephants from January to today have been seven. Last year were 34 elephants poached. The year before (2018) there were 80 elephants poached.”
Field Reporter: “Then there is the threat of human-wildlife conflict, the lack of a management plan due to changing land use by surrounding communities, has adversely affected elephant habitats in the country in a battle for space. But the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife and the KWS (Kenya Wildlife Service) says a plan is in the pipeline to reverse this.”
Joseph Ole Lenku, Governer, Kajaido: “Wildlife human conflict will be resolved amicably, compensations are coming through and is something we are very happy about and also benefits are occurring from wildlife will not start going into the community.”
Field Reporter: “All elephants country-wide are also expected to be profiled and named to make tracking easier.
Elsewhere, Singapore has destroyed nine tons of seized ivory, the largest such action globally in recent years, including contraband tusks that came from more than 200 African elephants worth $13 million US Dollars to mark World Elephant Day.” Smriti Vidyarthi, NTV
Transcribed from “Kenya’s elephant population has grown steadily from 16,000 in 1989, to 38,400 by the end of 2019” YouTube Video NTV Kenya CH
Images: CC Flickr: by Diana Robinson Elephants on the move in Amboseli National Park, Kenya, East Africa & Closeup of elephant, Amboseli National Park, Kenya, East Africa & Line of elephants at sunset in Amboseli National Park, Kenya, East Africa
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