ELEPHANT POACHING IN KENYA REDUCES BY 50% TO 40 CASES

NAIROBI, Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) says elephant poaching in the country has reduced by 50 per cent from 80 cases recorded during 2017 to 40 cases this year.

In a statement Thursday, acting KWS Director General Professor Charles Musyoki, said the country has lost 396 elephants this year due to diverse causes, compared to 727 that died during 2017, which translates to a 30 per cent drop in total elephant mortalities over the last one year.

Wildlife deaths result from many causes including natural causes (disease, drought, drowning, territorial fights & old age); human-wildlife conflicts, accidents and poaching. Nationally the country has lost 396 elephants this year due to diverse causes, compared to 727 that died during 2017, which translates to a 30 per cent drop in total elephant mortalities over the last one year. Poaching of elephants also reduced by 50% from 80 cases recorded during 2017 to 40 cases in 2018. All ivory except for the elephants that were poached was recovered and is in safe custody. He said.

In the Maasai Mara ecosystem, Professor Musyoki said a total of 61 elephants have died this year, with 38% (23) of mortalities being as a result of natural causes, 16% (10) were due to human-elephant conflict, 7% (4 ) were as a result of poaching and 39% (24) died from causes that were not immediately established since the carcasses were detected when they were petrified and extensively scavenged.

This year two elephants in the Mara Ecosystem were confirmed to have died from ingesting carbamate when the elephants strayed into farms that were sprayed with herbicides and pesticides. There has been an increase of cases of human-wildlife in the Mara Ecosystem due to change in land use, which is not compatible with wildlife conservation. He noted.

Professor Musyoki said all ivory except for the elephants that were poached were recovered and are in safe custody.

Professor Musyoki said the country's elephant population has remained healthy with a current estimate of 35,000 elephants having increased by 119 percent over a period of 29 years from 16,000 elephants in 1989.

He said the Mara ecosystem elephants have increased from 1,000 in 1983 to the present 2,493 translating to an increase of 149 percent in 35 years.

Professor Musyoki also dismissed a report by the Mara Elephant Project (MEP) quoted in local dailies claiming that 26 elephants had died from poisoning.

Professor Musyoki appealed to the public to always seek accurate population information including data on mortalities from Kenya Wildlife Service.

A report by the Mara Elephant Project (MEP) quoted in local dailies was misleading by claiming that 26 elephants had died from poisoning. The MEP has since corrected the report by sending a press release to the media. We appeal to the public to always seek accurate population information including data on mortalities from Kenya Wildlife Service. He said.

Source: Nam News Network