Kenya sees more than twice the elephants thanks to efforts to stop poaching.
August 12 was World Elephant Day. In celebration, Kenya Wildlife Service shared some positive news. Since the launch of the Conservation and Management Strategy of Elephants in 2012, elephant populations have increased.
In 1989, there were about 16,000 elephants. Now, however, there are about 34,800 elephants.
According to Najib Balala, Kenya’s tourism minister, this impressive increase comes from efforts to stop poaching.
Kenya’s World Elephant Day event
Najib Balala and the director of Kenya Wildlife Service, John Waweru, discussed the increase at an event on Wednesday. They gathered at Amboseli National Park in Kajiado County for World Elephant Day.
At the event, there was an “elephant collaring exercise.” During this kind of exercise, elephants are tagged and veterinarians and scientists gather samples from the elephants, amassing data to help aid conservation efforts.
Also, Balala named two new calf twins and introduced a naming campaign:
Today we are also launching the Magical Kenya elephant naming campaign, an annual festival whose objective will be to collect funds from the naming, to support the Rangers welfare. This year alone, about 170 elephant calves have been born.Najib Balala
The Rangers he referred to are “the armed guards whose task is to deter poachers.” So far in 2020, poaching has reduced. This year has seen seven instances of poaching, compared to 2019’s 34 instances and 2018’s 80 instances.
Taking a stance against poaching
Poaching remains a devastating activity in Africa. Kenya has been taking a firm stance against poaching in recent years. Poachers and traffickers of trophies from poached wildlife face “heavier fines and stiffer jail terms.”
Back in 2016, the president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, made a powerful declaration:
The height of the pile of ivory before us marks the strength of our resolve. No one, and I repeat, no one, has any business in trading in ivory, for this trade means death of our elephants and death of our natural heritage.President Uhuru Kenyatta
He then set fire to the huge pile of animal trophies, destroying them to show that the trafficking of trophies and the poaching that creates them is “murderous” and the “ivory is worthless unless it is on [Kenya’s] elephants.”
Hopefully, more African countries will follow Kenya’s example and enforce stricter rules to end poaching.
Article source: DW
Featured image source: K. Senosi