Elephant Population In Kenya Has Doubled In Past Three Decades
In some much-needed good news for conservation, the elephant population of Kenya has doubled over the past three decades.
This elephant boom has been partly attributed to efforts made by Kenya to clamp down on poachers, having last year implemented harsher fines and prison sentences for those convicted of poaching.
Thanks partly to a Conservation and Management Strategy implemented in 2012, Kenya’s elephant population has seen a steady increase from 16,000 in 1989 to 34,800 by the close of 2019, with the population being over double what it was in the 1990s.
Speaking with reporters at Amboseli National Park for an event that coincided with World Elephant Day (Wednesday, August 12), Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife, Najib Balala, stated:
In the last couple of years we have managed to tame poaching in this country.
Our number of poached elephants from January to today has been seven. We regret it has been seven.
A total of 80 elephants were killed by poachers in Kenya back in 2018, with this number dropping to 34 in 2019. The numbers are reportedly now already on track to achieve an even lower figure for the entirety of 2020.
In addition to this, Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, located close to the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, has seen an elephant baby boom, with more than 170 calves being born already this year.
To put this into perspective, 113 new calves were born at the park in the whole of 2018. As an elephant’s gestation period lasts for up to two years – yep, you heard that right – 2019 is not considered to be a good year for a side-by-side comparison.
Furthermore, two sets of twins have been born in 2020, something nonprofit conservation group Amboseli Trust For Elephants (ATE) considers very rare indeed.
In an emailed statement to NPR, ATE project manager Tal Manor said:
The main reason the population is rebounding is due to the surplus rains we have had over the past two years. Baby booms are largely tied to ecological changes.
East Africa recorded reported higher than usual rains in 2019, after years of serious drought. This rain has reportedly been beneficial for elephants, as it has led to more vegetation for grazing as well as fewer deaths from dehydration and starvation.
World Elephant Day helps spread awareness of the threats faced by African and Asian elephants, including habitat loss, land use pressure and the slaughter of elephants for meat and ivory.
You can find out more about the animals of Amboseli National Park here.
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CreditsKenya Wildlife Service/Facebook and 2 others
Kenya Wildlife Service/Facebook