WATCH: KWS, NGOs and Community Ranches unite for Kenya Aerial Elephant Census

In the midst of the most severe drought in Kenya since 2009, earlier this year IFAW participated with Kenya Wildlife Service and other groups in an intensive aerial census of Kenya’s elephants in the Tsavo Conservation Area.

Elephants are in crisis throughout the continent, largely due to poaching and habitat loss. So it is very important that we have accurate data about the number and distribution of elephants, especially in relation to human activities such as housing or road development, crop farming and most recently climate change. With this data we can make intelligent decisions about elephant conservation and management.

The aerial census was mainly funded by USAID, who provided both technical and financial support. The Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) led the exercise, however the amount of resources needed to conduct a very rapid and effective census are enormous.

KWS received planes, staff and other resources from many organizations, including the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT), African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), World Wildlife Fund Kenya (WWF –K), Save the Elephants, Tsavo Trust and local community ranches.

This kind of collaboration makes me feel proud of what we can accomplish, and very hopeful that together we can help save elephants—and other animals, including ourselves - who rely on the same healthy habitat for survival.

This year’s census results will be announced as soon as scientists finish compiling the data, and I look forward to sharing our findings and recommendations with you.

--SN

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