Elephant conservation strategy launched in Kenya

5th March 2012

To combat a recent upsurge in poaching, Kenya is launching a ten-year national strategy for the conservation and management of its elephants

Conservationists from the Zoological Society of London, the Kenya Wildlife Service and other partner organisations have developed a tough new elephant conservation plan in response to the threat posed by a resurgence in the world's illegal ivory trade.

The initiative will create elephant-friendly and elephant-free zones, wildlife corridors and heightened law enforcement to help protect Kenya's remaining 35,000 elephants.

Balancing the 'human/elephant conflict' and providing meaningful benefits to landowners and local communities for tolerating and protecting elephants will be a key part of the scheme's success.

Rajan Amin, a senior conservation biologist at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) says: “As well as tackling the pressing issue of poaching, overcoming the challenges associated with Kenya's growing human population will be essential if we are to secure a safe and lasting future for this national treasure."

Responsible tourism will play a key role in this, helping to provide the funds to allow this key conservation strategy to be carried out. Wildlife expert Mark Carwardine added: "Wildlife tourism can be both good and bad for wildlife, of course, but done responsibly (with a strong educational element, making minimal environmental and cultural impact and ensuring that both the wildlife and local people benefit financially) it can make a huge difference to conservation efforts."

The ivory trade was outlawed in 1989 but there has been a worrying increase in reports of poaching, particularly of rhinos in South Africa.

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