KENYA: Covid causes elephant baby boom, 200 new babies by 2020

The elephant population living in Kenya experienced a baby boom in 2020, marked by the birth of just over 200 individuals. This is according to the wildlife census conducted by the Kenya Wildlife Research and Training Institute (KWRI). According to the document, the pachyderm population now stands at 36,280 individuals. This represents an increase of 12% compared to 2014, which was marked by an increase in poaching. Between 2012 and 2014, the number of elephants increased from 35,588 to 32,214. That same year, the East African country mourned the death of Satao, a famous male with long tusks of around 50 years. killed by a poisoned dart.

For the Kenyan authorities, this demographic improvement of the elephants is a “Covid-19 gift”. The restrictions due to the pandemic have led to a decrease in park visits, poaching and interactions between elephants and tourists. “It is a real ray of hope for all those who struggle every day to conserve this emblematic species of the African continent, which has gone through many difficult periods”, said Najib Balala, the cabinet secretary for tourism and wildlife.

Adopt elephants as a means of conservation

To capitalize on the elephant baby boom and strengthen Kenya‘s commitment to wildlife conservation, Magical Kenya and the Kenya Wildlife Service have launched an initiative. The initiative allows companies or individuals to name one of the 200 new elephants born in 2020 by making a donation. This concept is called “adoption” of animals. For conservation reasons, donors are not allowed to bring young “adopted” elephants home as in a traditional adoption. However, they will receive weekly updates on their elephant’s health and can track their progress in their home park.

Read also- KENYA: When elephants and lawyers fight over the Rift Valley

The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF, an international conservation organization focused exclusively on Africa’s wildlife and wild lands) was one of the first organizations to give a symbolic name to one of Kenya’s elephants with a donation of 4,300 euros.

Boris Ngounou

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