According to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the population of elephants in the country has more than doubled from 1989 to 2019. KWS made this announcement at Amboseli National Park on World Elephant Day 2020. While the news of the growing elephant population in Kenya is worth celebrating, a lot still has to be done toward the conservation of wildlife in Africa at large. Today, the population of elephants in Africa is about 500,000, down from 1.3 million in the 1970s.
Kenya is among several countries in Africa that have been making efforts to protect elephants from poachers. According to KWS, the population of elephants in the country grew from 16,000 in 1989 to 34,800 by the end of 2019. While speaking at the World Elephant Day event, tourism minister Najib Balala said that the increase is in part thanks to the strict measures put in place to tame poaching.
KWS announced that only seven elephants have been poached in 2020 as compared to 34 in 2019 and 80 in 2018. The killing of elephants for ivory and meat has been a major problem. KWS director John Waweru said that World Elephant Day presents the perfect platform to create awareness about the threat to African elephants.
“It is fortunate that Kenya has a conservation and management strategy for elephants in place to guide elephant recovery strategies, which has seen a more than 100% growth in Kenya’s population from 16,000 in 1989 to 34,800 by end of 2019,” Waweru said.
In a bid to raise more awareness about the plight of elephants, Kenya is now launching an elephant-naming annual festival. The festival, dubbed Magical Kenya, will collect money to support rangers’ efforts in thwarting poachers.
While the news of growing elephant populations is welcomed, it is also a reality check. This reminds us that more has to be done to conserve wildlife populations around the world.