In a year where good news seems rare, elephants are lifting us all up. The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) announced yesterday that the elephant population in Kenya grew to 34,800 by the end of 2019. That number is more than double the population from 1989, when it was just 16,000. These numbers are heartening, but nowhere near Africa’s booming elephant population of the 1970s, which totaled 1.3 million across the entire continent, compared to today’s 500,000.
The recent population increase is thanks to the country’s ability to curb poaching in recent years through the implementation of greater fines and jail time. The KWS also implemented a Conversation and Management Strategy in 2012 to develop elephant recovery strategies.
According to KSW Director General Brigadier John Waweru, “It is fortunate that Kenya has a conservation and management strategy for elephants in place to guide elephant recovery strategies, which has seen a more than 100% growth in Kenya’s population from 16,000 in 1989 to 34,800 by end of 2019.”
And Kenya isn’t resting on its laurels. The country continues to devise creative ways to support elephant conservation and those who protect the elephant population. The Magical Kenya Elephant Naming Campaign will take place on World Elephant Day (August 12), which is designed to raise money to support rangers who combat poachers.