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Kenya's Elephant Population Has Doubled Over Last Three Decades

Kenya's Elephant Population Has Doubled Over Last Three Decades

Kenya's elephant population has more than doubled over the last three decades, thanks to a successful mission to prevent poaching.

Back in 1989 there were just 16,000 elephants in the country, but - in some much needed good news - there were 34,000 by 2018, KWS Director John Waweru announced during a visit to Amboseli National Park to mark World Elephant Day.

World Elephant Day is all about creating awareness surrounding the threats to African and Asian elephants, such as poaching and many other issues, like habitat loss and human-elephant conflicts.

The country has managed to prevent poaching (Credit: Unsplash)
The country has managed to prevent poaching (Credit: Unsplash)
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"In the past couple of years, we have managed to tame poaching in this country,", the country's tourism minister, Najib Balala, said at the event.

"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."

Rangers have the essential job of protecting the elephants from poachers, and act as armed guards for the endangered animals to ensure their safety.

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And their job seems to be working. This year, Kenya has only seen seven elephants poached compared to 34 in 2019 and as many as 80 back in 2018.


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Continuing with an update on the elephant population in recent years, KWS director general, John Waweru, added: "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".

Sadly, these figures aren't indicative of the whole of Africa.

While the continent housed 1.3 million elephants back in the 1970s, it only has around 500,000 today - of which just short of 30,000 are actually living in the wild.

This is due to an increased interest in ivory imports and rhino horns in Asia.

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The elephant population has grown substantially (Credit: Unsplash)
The elephant population has grown substantially (Credit: Unsplash)

However, Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta has been determined to take a hard stance on the issue - even setting fire to thousands of elephant tusks and rhino horns to show smugglers just what he thought of their endeavours.

He's also introduced longer jail terms and heftier fines for those caught engaging in poaching or trafficking animals.

Here's to hoping more countries take such a hard stance and eliminate poaching once and for all.

Featured Image Credit: Pexels

Topics: Life News, Life, elephants, Elephant, Animals

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Joanna Freedman

Joanna is a journalist at Tyla with a particular interest in highlighting women's issues and telling inspiring first person stories. She's also their resident foodie, and loves covering exciting new beauty launches, too. Contact her at [email protected]