During my time in Kenya last year, I spent time following a number of elephant families in Samburu National Reserve. It was a remarkable but sobering experience as I learned about the increasing threats elephants are facing in the wild due to the ivory trade. I also experienced some of the amazing new strategies that conservationists in Kenya are putting place to help deal with elephant conservation and I have shared a few of these ideas with you below:
These are Elephant tracking collars. This new technology and way of tracking has dramatically helped in locating where elephants are traveling. This is what allows conservationists to track most used elephant corridors and in turn allows them the opportunity to inform the Nomadic tribes from building camps and villages on or beside these corridors, preventing unwanted elephant/human conflict. It also informs conservationists and the government in which countries and reserves poaching is taking place.
This is an amazing invention to help farmers keep the elephants from destroying their farms, while not having to harm them. Elephants hate bee stings and will stay away at all costs so these hives are set up around crops with single wires between them, so that no matter where the elephant tries to enter, it will stir up the bees and the elephants will not only leave, but will communicate with the others to stay away from the area. As a bonus, the honey is then jarred and sold and adds as another source of income.
These arrows represent the corridors which are heavily used by all the elephants of the area, conservationists are then able to inform nomadic villages of these corridors so that they don't set up home directly in their pathways, which greatly diminishes human/elephant conflict. As the elephants habitat continues to diminish at an unprecedented rate, human/elephant conflict is unfortunately becoming more frequent.
Here's a graph showing the death rate of elephants per year. You can see that in 2009 there was an awful drought which caused lots of death due to natural cause (green) but in 2012 the death by poaching rose astronomically (red), thanks to many government and private funding there's been lots of attention geared towards stopping poachers. Unfortunately, although the bottom guy ( poacher) when caught is either jailed or killed, the king pins at the top of these crimes rarely are found. In the last decade Africa has lost around 111,000 elephants to poaching and the population of elephants as a whole, has declined by 97% in a century.
In a time where the African elephant desperately needs our help, I can only hope that we will continue to protect these remarkable creatures for future generations to come.
An article by Kendra Jade Anderson