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More than 1500 elephants lost in Tsavo since 2011

10 February 2014, 13:31 Nechesa Chemoi

Taita - The number of elephants in the Tsavo ecosystem has reduced by 1,573 since 2011, this is according to provisional results from the just concluded 2014 aerial census conducted by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

According to the new figures, there are now about 11,000 elephants compared to 12, 573 that were there in the previous census three years ago.

While comparing the results since when KWS began conducting the census in the ecosystem in 1999, KWS’ Senior Assistant Director for Biodiversity, Dr. Erastus Kanga said the population has been stable despite numerous challenges related to poaching, livestock incursions into protected areas, charcoal burning and general change in land use patterns in the dispersal areas and corridors.

“Going forward it’s expected that with these results, stakeholders will join hands with Kenya Wildlife Service to actively address factors that are likely to negate conservation gains that have been made this far,” said Kanga.

The results were announced on Monday at census tallying centre at Sarova Taita Hills Game Lodge by KWS Deputy Director in charge of Devolution and Community Wildlife Service Ben Kavu.

“The results also indicated that a good number and diversity of wildlife exists outside of the boundaries of the national parks,” said Kavu.

He called on County Governments and other land owners to borrow a leaf from the County Government of Taita Taveta and establish wildlife conservation areas to enable them to tap into the growing tourism industry.

Taita Taveta County Governor John Mruttu recently announced that his county had identified a 10,000 acres piece of land in the Bachuma area that they would like to put under wildlife conservation. KWS has promised to give such county governments all the technical support required to make this a reality.

This year’s Tsavo census has been held at a time when the world is concerned about wildlife population trends against the backdrop of climate change, declining ecosystems, environmental and development issues.

He expressed Kenya’s appreciation to the global community for the importance being given to wildlife conservation given the value to an economy like Kenya’s.

Other animals counted besides elephants were zebra, buffalo, giraffe, wild dogs, rhino, eland and lion as well as large birds such as ostrich.

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