I am lover and protector of wildlife, elephants being some favorites. I wish I could always spend my time out there in the bush with them just to ensure that they are safe.`
Habitat loss and poaching are among the biggest concerns in regard to the survival of African elephants. Population growth in Africa is the main driving factor in interference of animal corridors, deforestation and many other development activities carried out by man in an attempt to satisfy their needs. The government, conservationists and other stakeholders should come together in a bid to save elephants. Currently there are a number of approaches, ranging from minimal to advanced technology. The oldest and traditional approach being practiced is where rangers patrol parks, reserves and elephant habitats on foot. However, more advanced technology is rising up day by day to ensure we have effective methods to protect and monitor these crimes as well as tools to raise awareness from the young generation to adults on importance of conserving elephants.
African bush Elephant
Currently in Kenya, pastoralists have invaded ranches in search of water and pasture for their livestock. This has resulted into conflicts leading to killing of elephants, a case in Baringo and Laikipia counties.
The government should come up with programmes that will bring together students to compete in writing wildlife essays, cleaning parks, planting trees in parks and use social media to educate the public on importance of elephant conservation.
Interactive conversations with my friends on the issue of elephant conservation and human wildlife conflicts resulted to some of the views highlighted here….
Solio Game Reserve
Wildlife Monitoring Unit
Elephants’ future generation is at stake. Therefore, to save these marvelous creature for future generation is the main reason as to why conservation is being emphasized. One of the main biggest threats to land mammals is mankind. Saving the creatures whose number is dwindling each day is in mankind’s hands. Increased human encroachment has contributed much to habitat loss and blockage of the elephants’ corridors which has in turn contributed to wildlife conflict. For example, in a decade ago, Elephants could walk from Olpajeta Conservancy, to Solio Ranch game reserve, to Sangare Ranch and then to Mt. Kenya National Park. Today there has been growth of villages and lots of cultivations activities and Elephants still walk across the crop fields (their path) to their destinations. This has greatly resulted to stress and death of elephants through poisoning by the villagers. Also, elephants require vast area due to their feeding behavior and therefore, in a small Conservation Area, they tend to be in a zoo since the access to other areas is restricted. Change in behavior is the result of being in small enclosed area which makes them not wild again but domestic!
“…One of the main biggest threats to land mammals is mankind.”
Environmental Studies Student
He is an Environmental enthusiast.
Apart from being very intelligent creatures, Elephants play a key role as keystone species in an ecosystem, because of this; they command respect and admiration by many conservationists. Why so? Let’s get right into it.
They use their tasks to dig for water during dry seasons thus providing source of water even for other species, their feeding behavior allows for gaps in vegetation thus providing for other plants to grow and pathways be created. In the savannah ecosystem they deposit dung that is full of seeds they eat from plants this then grow into grasses bushes and trees boosting the Savannah ecosystem growth and overall health.
Currently elephants are endangered due to the market price they fetch for their tusks, also our quest for development has occurred at the expense of elephant existing due to land fragmentation causing eventual habitat loss. Efforts by the government cannot go unnoticed as the former CS reported a steady increase in elephant population, 15316 in 2017 compared to 14411 in 2013.This goes only to show how valued this species are, let’s all join efforts in conserving them.
“………Elephants play a key role as keystone species in an ecosystem, because of this; they command respect and admiration by many conservationists.”
Ele’s need to make babies, y’all
Let’s get one thing clear. Elephants don’t care whether we love them or not. All they know is that they deserve access to food and clean water. They also like to play in mud for peculiar reasons. Most importantly, they want to make babies. For the love of God everyone deserves to make babies in peace!
Although the elephant population is increasing in Kenya, there are still concerns about poaching and the human-wildlife conflict. If we want these numbers to keep rising, hopefully soar, then we need to protect and coexist with elephants.
If we cannot give back land to elephants, at least let us create more corridors for them to carry on to their daily lives. The best way to reduce conflict is to create spaces they can be alone to feed, drink and socialize.
“………If we want these numbers to keep rising, hopefully soar, then we need to protect and coexist with elephants.”
Lillian Gakuhi is a wildlife ecologist and environmental governance expert. Currently undertaking her MSC at Wangari Maathai institute of peace and Environmental studies at the University of Nairobi. She is a research scientist involved in various studies in the field of wildlife, climate change and adaptation and sustainability studies.
We need to conserve elephants since they are a charismatic species which is mostly used as a focus in environmental campaigns. Elephants range over wide areas hence through its conservation efforts other smaller wildlife species are conserved too (so it’s an umbrella species as well). Elephants help to open up bushes in crowded thickets allowing smaller animals to access forage especially undergrowth. Elephants also help in seed dispersal in an ecosystem. Therefore they are of great conservation importance.
Also associated with elephants are the human wildlife conflicts since they are a wide raging species. Due to human encroachment into protected areas and cases of habitat fragmentation, the elephants extend their foraging to community areas where they destroy people’s crops and sometimes kill humans. As a result sometimes the elephants are handled with brutality where communities may kill them in revenge (a case of human wildlife conflict in Samburu where a community burnt an elephant).
To some extent the human wildlife conflicts escalates since the communities around protected areas claim historical land injustices, where they believe the protected areas were their ancestral lands. Therefore they turn to destruction of protected areas since they feel that they don’t accrue any significant benefits from them.
The aspect of poaching is an alarming concern to conservation; this has seen the African anti-poaching campaigns on elephants and rhinos failed simply because it’s a lucrative business and with many existing black markets even after the ivory ban. For instance 1 kg of ivory costs around 210000 and a whole ivory weighs around 383kgs summing up to around 38 million. So that’s why the poaching is alarmingly increasing even after arming the rangers with heavy weapons, drones and helicopters. Also, a major contributor to failing campaigns is weak legislation and enforcement of wildlife conservation policies and frameworks that are in place and our judicial systems do not take wildlife crimes as serious crimes.
“…….communities around protected areas claim historical land injustices, where they believe the protected areas were their ancestral lands. Therefore they turn to destruction of protected areas since they feel that they don’t accrue any significant benefits from them.”
Nachale J Marriam.
Environmental Studies Student
No earthquake, no thunder, no volcanic eruption
Or even typhoon. There was no natural calamity,
A sudden loud sound broke out through the bush
With whizzing, shuddering, cracking, tearing echoing and a trumpet like nature_
Fear, horror, dark, terror, misery and ill spirits spread committing destruction,
Death in a horrible situation,
The harmless animals looking at me with emaciating liquid eyes,
Crying for help!
The young calf began crying, a cry full of pain a cry full of abandonment’
They have been bribed off their only joy_ their moms
Just in the name of bloody ivory, for money_ money that killed son of a Man,
You have heard the sobering statistics!
Of the Booming economy in the Middle East,
That has left our Zoos without the big 5, being the only nation in East Africa.
Despite conservationist coming out,
Despite the call of nations
Despite CITES passing out regulations
Cruelty to animals has never ceased
The corridor between Mount Kenya and Aberdares is now a man’s settlement
Then when conflicts prevail, we blame the animal
Yet we humans have interfered with their habitat
The elephant is in danger
Where on earth can it find such a spacious ecosystem to graze?
When there is no talk of population growth checks
When population is preferred in the name of political support,
No voice to save the elephant
Concrete deserts all over; there is no place for elephant to exist
Sorry, future generation man has become so mean
Sustainability issues have been left only for environmentalists
How about the doers, the future of elephants is in the community’s hands!
There is in need to civil educate
There is need to value the wildlife
The world will never be complete without elephants,
Where will our tourists tour
How about its niche in the ecosystem?
There is need to conserve!
Save the elephant…
“……..The world will never be complete without elephants.”
Nachale J Mariam