World Elephant Day celebrated on August 12 every year is set aside to bring attention to the plight of the African and Asian elephants, whose very existence teeters on the brink of extinction.
The largest land mammals on earth are intelligent and family-oriented. They have eidetic memories and can experience a plethora of emotions.
The most significant risks to the elephant are:
1) Habitat loss and defragmentation, which deprives elephants of the hundreds of pounds of food they need daily
2) Increased human pressure and the need for improved infrastructural developments
3) Poaching and consumer demand for ivory
4) Human-Wildlife conflict
5) Circuses and tourism. Training elephants often involves tying and beating them daily
6) Limited financial resources
KWS in conjunction with other relevant agencies, both local and international, has taken the following measures to protect and conserve the elephant:
• Enhanced inter departmental collaboration in intelligence information gathering and sharing among key government departments and the inclusion of elephant poaching and illegal ivory trade into the agenda of the Nation Security Council
• Cross-border collaborations in information sharing and deployment of wildlife security patrols
• Enhanced capacity of law enforcement and wildlife protection agencies
• Global public awareness campaigns more especially to the consumer countries, against poaching and illegal trade in ivory
• Improved engagement of communities living with elephants as active partners to elephant conservation through supporting community efforts to manage and benefit from wildlife
• Establishment of DNA and forensic laboratory that has helped identify the origin of seized ivory and isotopic analysis that provide admissible evidence in courts of law
• Improved focus on species specific challenges through development and implementation of species action plans
KWS mounted and continues to support a campaign to create awareness and generating the required resources that will help bring to the fore the plight of African and Asian elephants, hence ensuring their conservation for posterity.
The July 2017 launch of the Wildlife Migratory Corridors and Dispersal Areas report in Nairobi National Park was a milestone whereby KWS, in conjunction with stakeholders, elevated efforts to guarantee that future generations continue to enjoy our elephants and their uniquely fascinating way of life.