Nature news

hr-shutterstock_379250269Paul Udoto brings us the latest from KWS

In decline: elephant census
Newly released census data confirms staggering declines in African savannah elephant populations over the last decade. The Great Elephant Census showed an alarming drop of
30 per cent in African savannah elephant populations in 15 of the 18 countries surveyed across the continent – totalling an estimated 144,000 fewer elephants between 2007 and 2014, primarily due to poaching.

New walking track at NNP
An 11-km picturesque walking track has been opened on the edge of the 70-year-old Nairobi National Park. To celebrate the event, a ‘walk in the park’ was organised to create awareness of the need to protect the unique park. The walk raised funds for the Nairobi Greenline, an historic greening project started in 2010 by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) in partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and other stakeholders. The project provides a natural buffer to protect Nairobi National Park from pollution, encroachment and human/wildlife conflict.

In our hands
“Illicit wildlife trafficking is about people — people drive it through greed, ignorance, and indifference, people suffer from it, and people alone can fix it… wildlife crime greases the palms of corrupt networks, draws upon over-stretched law enforcement, and robs ordinary people and communities in poorer countries of jobs and their governments of money… Poaching gangs add to insecurity in places where a lack of the rule of law allows these crimes to flourish.”
Said Helen Clark, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and a former Prime Minister of New Zealand, in an opinion article in The Independent.

New sanctuaries
Kenya has opened rhino and elephant sanctuaries in different parts of the country to help reverse their dwindling populations. Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy in Samburu County has established Africa’s first community-owned and managed elephant sanctuary. The Reteti Elephant Sanctuary will take in orphaned and abandoned elephant calves from incidents of poaching, man-made wells and the natural deaths of their mothers. At the same time KWS, with support from WWF-Kenya, has set up a sanctuary for rhinos in Tsavo East National Park as part of efforts to raise the national black rhino population from the current population of 678 individuals to a target of 810 by 2020.