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Kenya's Elephant Population Has Doubled Over Last Three Decades

Kenya's Elephant Population Has Doubled Over Last Three Decades

There were just 16,000 elephants in 1989. That number has grown to around 34,000.

Stewart Perrie

Stewart Perrie

The year 2020 has served us up some awful news, from devastating bushfires in Australia, a pandemic causing chaos around the world, Kobe Bryant dying in a helicopter crash and everything else in between.

But finally there has been some good news and it's coming out of Kenya.

The country's elephant population has more than doubled since numbers were taken in 1989.

Back then, there were just 16,000 elephants in Kenya. That number has grown to around 34,000, according to Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) Director John Waweru, who made the announcement during a visit to Amboseli National Park to mark World Elephant Day.

"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."

The increase in numbers is thanks to a massive mission to crack down on poachers and ensure current elephants have the habitat they need to procreate. Rangers have the essential job of protecting the elephants and act as armed guards for the endangered animals.

This year, Kenya has only seen seven elephants poached compared to 34 in 2019 and as many as 80 back in 2018.

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 though, the impressive efforts to boost elephant numbers isn't being seen across the rest of Africa.

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

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

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.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: News, Animals