Home » Africa: Kenya’s tourism shows positive outlook as elephant population doubled since 1989

Africa: Kenya’s tourism shows positive outlook as elephant population doubled since 1989

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Elephant

At an event marking World Elephant Day, authorities announced that the elephant population in Kenya had doubled in the last three decades. Efforts to curb poaching have helped Kenya’s elephant population.

In the past couple of years, we have managed to tame poaching in this country,” Kenya Tourism Minister Najib Balala told reporters at the event. As part of the event, Balala helped to tag a bull elephant and named a pair of twin calves.

According to foxnews.com, There were just 16,000 elephants in Kenya in 1989, but by 2018 that number had grown to more than 34,000. Amid a global coronavirus pandemic that has stifled travel and shut down economies across the world, there were just seven elephants poached in Kenya this year, down from 34 in all of 2019 and 80 the year before that, according to the report. The Kenyan government has imposed longer jail terms, and larger fines for poachers and smugglers as part of its crackdown on the ivory trade.

Last month, Kenyan authorities announced the arrest of a suspected poacher blamed for killing at least 100 elephants and 35 rhinos. He is expected to be extradited to the U.S. in connection with a $7 million smuggling investigation. And to further dissuade trafficking, government officials in Kenya, the U.S. and other countries have destroyed tons of seized ivory stockpiles, with estimated values exceeding $100 million, by burning or crushing them in public.

Elephants, whose ivory tusks are highly valued on illicit markets, also are known to raid crops and on occasion injure or even kill humans, prompting the government to offer compensation to farmers who suffer damages, according to the Kenyan government.

But poaching grew worse in the 2000s as the black-market demand for ivory surged in parts of Asia, including China. It spiked between 2011 and 2014, and estimates for the entire African elephant population dipped below 420,000, according to authorities. That’s down from an estimated 10 million in 1930, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

African elephants are the largest land animals on the planet and generally live in the central and southern regions of the continent, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Their tusks for years have been considered trophies for their ivory, which is used for ornamental carvings and jewelry. But they also are killed for meat and in retaliation for damaging crops or other human property, which the government refers to as “human-elephant conflict.”

“The elephants are one of the natural resources that have been caught up in human greed on one hand and human need on the other,” Waweru said. “So there we have a dichotomy.” The United States passed its African Elephant Conservation Act in 1988, authorizing millions of dollars in aid to help the animals, which have been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act since the late 1970s.

Source: foxnews.com

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