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Kenya’s elephant population on the increase

Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet secretary Judi Wakhungu said the increase in the elephant population is attributed to a decline in poaching by 80 per cent in the last four years/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 3 – Improved numbers in elephant population have been recorded in the latest wildlife census carried out in five ecosystems.

In total, elephants were found to be 15,316 in 2017 compared to 14,411 in 2012 following the survey carried out in Laikipia-Meru-Samburu-Marsabit ecosystem, Meru conservation area, Mwea National Reserve, Aberdare Forest, Mau Forest Complex and the Mount Kenya Forest.

Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu said the increase in the elephant population is attributed to a decline in poaching by 80 per cent in the last four years.

“Increased surveillance, improved workmanship, weaponry among other measures have led to a decline in poaching,” noted the CS.

Results of the census also included buffalo, giraffes and Grevy’s zebra.

Buffalo and giraffes studied in the survey were also found to be increasing in number.

The population of buffaloes counted in Laikipia-Samburu-Marsabit ecosystem during the November 2017 census was 4,499 which is about 10 per cent increase compared to 4,069 buffaloes recorded in the same ecosystem in 2012.

Further, the 2017 aerial survey in Laikipia-Samburu-Marsabit ecosystem recorded 1621 Grevy’s zebra compared to 1,897 and 2,400 Grevy’s Zebra counted during the 2012 and 2008 census.

“This implies that the conservation efforts that my Ministry has put in place through Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and other conservation partners is for an increase in future. I can conservatively state that we are managing to save this endangered species,” stated CS Wakhungu.

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Some 2,711 buffaloes were counted in Meru Conservation Area (MCA) in 2017 compared to 1,663 counted in November 2014, which represents a 39 per cent increase in three years.

“Monitoring populations is a major prerequisite in accordance to international standards and the Wildlife act, 2013,”noted Wakhungu.

“In addition, the information generated is also used to prepare a National Wildlife Conservation Status Report, for submission to the National Assembly after every two years.”

Wakhungu also assured that her ministry and the KWS would continue to provide long and short-term measures for conservation of the country’s wildlife.

“I now call upon the KWS Board of trustees and the management, to come up with a clear road map of implementing the recommendations provided through this census.”

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