Kenya’s Amboseli National Park reported that there is currently a baby elephant boom. It is excellent news, as the country is strengthening anti-poaching laws and caring to make sure the elephants are safe.
Kenya’s elephant populations have been thriving over the past 30 years. In fact, from 1989 to 2019, it more than doubled from 16,000 to 34,800 elephants. They will continue to grow thanks to the increase in the number of births. A non-profit that fights for the conservation and long-term welfare of elephants, Amboseli Trust For Elephant Foundation, confirmed that more than 170 baby elephants were born in the park this year. There are even some twins; this is a rare occurrence ever.
The best time to compare is 2018, as the gestation period of the elephant is two years. There were 113 calves born that year, making that year’s statistics remarkable. So what is the cause of this population explosion? The environment is the most significant factor. Over the past two years, the record rainfall has put an end to the drought that made these incredible animals’ lives so difficult. Although these rains have also caused flooding and difficulties for the people, they have provided enough water for the vegetation’s regeneration. It means that fewer elephants will lose their lives from dehydration and starvation.
However, it’s not only the weather that created an excellent environment for the elephants’ growth. The Kenyan government has also done its best to prevent poaching in this country. Najib Balala, Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary, told reporters that “We have successfully prevented poaching in the country for the past couple of years” during a World Elephant Day event at the park.
The government revised Kenya’s wildlife law in 2019. From then on, poachers will be fined heavier and stay in prison longer. As a result, from 2018 to 2019, the number of elephants poached decreased from 80 to 34.
While this is great news, conservationists are still working hard to cope with another important problem: elephants’ conflict with humans. As the population increases and the land where elephants live is converted for human use. Then elephants invade the farm and destroy livestock. Then that causes human retaliation.
However, we still have room to hope when looking at Kenya’s success, especially compared to the rest of Africa, where 33% of the elephant population decreased from 2007 to 2014. The number of elephants in Kenya is steadily increasing, thanks to favorable weather and government efforts to prevent poaching. Tal Manor, Project Director at Amboseli Trust for Elephants, said, “Overall in Kanya, the elephants are safer due to strong efforts to combat poaching.”