Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala says Human-Wildlife conflict is a major impediment to the conservation of elephants in the country.
Wildlife conservation, he added, is an expensive undertaking by the government alone and appealed to sponsors and partners to join hands with the government in conservation initiatives.
The CS was speaking at Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) headquarters, Nairobi during the reception of the second batch of contributions from sponsors towards the Tembo naming festivals set for 8th and 9th September 2021 in Amboseli to support elephant conservation.
“Conservation of wildlife resources requires us to be innovative because it is not cheap, and this is the reason we came up with this initiative to raise funds and also ensure that the public plays a role in conservation. We don’t have to build the fences and water pans for wildlife, you as the public or organizations can be our partner and do it and be part of this great festival”, added the CS.
He said the recently concluded national wildlife census gives the government a basis for identifying the species that require attention as far as conservation is concerned.
“The national wildlife census was a historic opportunity to develop an inventory of our wildlife resources, in recognition of their place as strategic national assets,” said Balala.
Kenya today has 36,280 savanna elephants which is a 2,000 increase from 34,000 elephants recorded in 2017, other endangered species require include the rhino, Sable and Roan antelopes among others.
During the event, the CS received a total contribution of Ksh 3 million towards the initiative from the East African Breweries Ltd, Elephant Cooperation, Twiga Tours, Animal Adoption Advocacy LLc.
So far, the Magical Kenya Tembo Naming festival has received a total of Ksh 10 million shillings with other contributions expected to be received before the naming event.
The naming ceremony will allow individuals and organizations to give names to selected elephants after donating funds towards the program which is aimed at boosting conservation efforts of the endangered species.
The KWS Director-General, Brig (Rtd.) John Waweru thanked the sponsors for honouring the call of the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife and KWS towards the initiative “We should no wait for people from the outside to come and help us to conserve our resources. We as Kenyans can do it by ourselves, people should know that this is not restricted to co-operations, but individuals should also come out and adopt their heritage,” said the DG
The Kenya Tourism Board CEO, Dr Betty Radier urged more organizations and individuals to join this year’s and subsequent programs. “Kenya is blessed with incredible wildlife resources and people come from all over the world and spend billions to see them. Why should we then not be at the forefront of protecting this resource?
“Conservation is something that should be a concern for each and every one of us because it also has an impact on our tourism industry. I take this opportunity to request like-minded individuals and organizations to join us in this noble course for this year’s inaugural event and for the years to come,” said Radier.
KTB and KWS are calling on as many partners to give the elephants a name, give them their right to move and #SaveTheTembo.