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Elephant population defies poaching problems

03 April 2014, 10:38

Nairobi - The country’s elephant population has remained stable despite rampant poaching in recent years.

This is according to a team of researchers conducting an independent dry season sample aerial survey in Tsavo and Amboseli ecosystems.

The researchers announced that an estimate of elephant population of 14 087 and 1 736 at Tsavo and Amboseli as compared to total count aerial surveys estimates of 11 076 and 1 193 respectively.

According to the Kenya Wildlife Service, the team of researchers was drawn from Elephants Without Borders (EWB), Pan-African Aerial Survey of Elephants (PAASE) and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

This is the first sample aerial survey of elephants and other large mammals in the Tsavo and Amboseli ecosystems since 1988. The survey was carried out between February 26, 2014 and March 15, 2014.

“The total count aerial survey for vast Tsavo/Mkomazi ecosystem was concluded on February 9, 2014 with preliminary results announced showing a decline of elephant population to about 11 000, compared to 12 573 in the previous census in year 2011,” stated the KWS statement.

A similar study in October 2010 within Amboseli ecosystem recorded a total of 1193 elephants compared to a similar dry season in October 2010 count of 1 065.

This indicates that the Tsavo elephant population in the 41 660 square kilometre ecosystem 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.

While receiving the report, KWS Acting Director General, William Kiprono, welcomed the findings saying that science will guide conservation agenda in the country going forward.

“These data can now be used to evaluate the efficacy of conservation activities and trends in wildlife populations with the ability to prioritize conservation projects against any severe variations in wildlife numbers,” said Michael Chase the Lead researcher.

 – CAJ News

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