Elephant populations in the Tsavos have increased to 12, 866 in the last three years. This is according to the aerial elephant census results officially announced at the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) headquarters by Director General Kitili Mbathi. Results of the 2014 census indicated numbers at 11, 076.
“The increase in elephant population by over 15 percent is indeed good news for conservation. We commend KWS and other conservationists for this achievement,” stated James Isiche, Regional Director IFAW East Africa. The census was conducted over a two week period in February 2017 against a backdrop of a severe drought that had plagued most of sub-Saharan Africa since late last year. Despite the drought which resulted in deaths of wildlife in some parts of Kenya, the Tsavos were not greatly affected.
Counting of elephants is critical as it helps to monitor the elephant and large mammal population and their distribution consequently aiding in conservation management and planning. “An increase in elephant populations is not an indicator that we should relax our efforts. Threats that include poaching, conflict with humans, wildlife habitat destruction, climate change, population growth and infrastructural developments continue to negatively affect elephant populations globally hence the need to commit even more resources to conservation, IFAW commits to working with Kenya and other range states to ensure that elephants populations are secured for posterity” added James.
IFAW offered technical and financial support to the census and mitigates elephant threats by undertaking various interventions including training law enforcement officers in prevention of wildlife trafficking, and provision of the necessary equipment to improve wildlife security through the revolutionary tenBoma Project. IFAW is also partnering with communities and conservationists to conserve landscapes for elephants.
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