Daily Nation

Najib Balala lauds role of conservancies in wildlife safety efforts

MONDAY AUGUST 13 2018
Elephants

Elephants at Meru National Park. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By DAVID MUCHUI
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Community and private conservancies in the northern rangelands have been credited for the increase in the elephant population in the country.

Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala said the country’s elephant population stood at 33,948 as at December 2017, an annual increase of 2.25 per cent since 1989.

In a speech read on his behalf by his Principal Secretary Margaret Mwakima during the World Elephant Day national celebration in Meru on Saturday, Mr Balala said there is need for increased engagement with communities to protect wildlife habitats.

“The elephants are found in a range area of 139,344 kilometre square, an increase from 107,113 kilometre square as at the end of 2007.

“Though there was an initial eminent decline in elephant numbers from a national population of approximately 170,000 in early 1970s, the elephant numbers have remained stable. The increase of the population and range is mostly due to establishment of community conservancies in known elephant range areas,” Mr Balala said.

He added that the ministry would encourage more individuals and groups to devise ways of conserving wildlife.

Kenya Wildlife Service chairman John Waithaka called for concerted efforts to stop habitat fragmentation, blockage of corridors and poaching and demand for ivory; and appealed for more resources for habitat conservation.