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Kenya plans to address elephant protection

10 February 2015, 10:19

Nairobi - Kenya's wildlife conservationists will meet in Nairobi next week for a national conference to discuss conservation needs and challenges facing elephants in the east Africa nation, organizers said on Monday.

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said the objectives of Feb. 18- 19 conference will be to monitor and evaluate progress in implementation of the national conservation and management strategy for elephant in Kenya, and explicate synergy in information sharing among the relevant stakeholders.

"The conference will be structured in such a way that presentations by various speakers will be grouped into related topics, namely, elephant ecology, habitat utilization, human- elephant conflict, genetics, illegal off-take and trade," KWS said in a statement released in Nairobi.

According to KWS, the conference is expected achieve new knowledge on elephant conservation and management dynamics, synergy among elephant conservation partners, and a roadmap to the implementation of the national elephant strategy and identification of gaps in knowledge on elephant conservation and management.

KWS and other conservation partners have been implementing initiatives geared towards elephant protection, population expansion, mitigation of human-elephant conflict, and research and monitoring for management, as is outlined in the Conservation and Management Strategy for the Elephant in Kenya 2012-2021.

Also read: KWS decries increased poaching of rhinos and elephants

These initiatives have mostly been implemented independently by each party, with little efforts for synergy, hence reducing the overall positive impact to elephant conservation that could be accrued from a similar magnitude of efforts.

According to the wildlife agency, land use pressure, habitat loss, human elephant conflict and illegal killing for both meat and ivory continue to pose threats to the long-term survival of elephant populations across Africa. Recent research also points to climate change and the increasing frequency of droughts as a major threat to elephant population.

Available evidence from KWS indicates Kenya lost 47 elephants to poaching in year 2007 as compared to 384 in year 2012, and 302 elephants in 2013, though 2014 has seen a significant drop, with 164 elephants being poached in 2014.

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