- More than 200 baby elephants were born in 2020.
It’s not unheard of for a government to study the demographics of its population, but officials from Kenya took that concept one step further with its first-ever National Wildlife Census.
Conducted by Kenya’s newly created Wildlife Research and Training Institute, the census will serve as a baseline for future assessments of the country’s wildlife population. But results from the first count are already promising— there was an elephant “baby boom,” with more than 200 elephants born throughout 2020.
The Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife, the Hon. Najib Balala, described the increase in the elephant population as “COVID gifts” — a silver lining during tough times.
“The information generated during the census will support the implementation of Government of Kenya conservation and tourism policies and support tools for adaptive management,” he said in a statement.
To celebrate the elephant “baby boom” and further the country’s commitment to wildlife conservation, Magical Kenya and the Kenya Wildlife Service are organizing an elephant adoption and naming ceremony to be held on Oct. 9 in Amboseli National Park.
“The goal of the festival is to secure a future for elephants and their habitats in peaceful coexistence with humans,” a statement from the organizers read.
The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) was one of the first organizations to symbolically name one of Kenya’s elephants with a $5,000 donation. Though donors won’t be able to take their adopted cuties home for obvious reasons, they’ll receive regular updates as to how their elephant is doing in the national park.
Beyond the good news about the baby elephants, the National Wildlife Census revealed other positive statistics as well. The overall elephant population has increased by 12%, while the giraffe population grew by 34,240, representing about a 49% increase in three years.
Unfortunately, the census also had some dire news for other wildlife populations, with some, like the roan and sable antelope and mountain bongo, facing local extinction. These issues are worsened by human activity, including the introduction of livestock to areas normally inhabited by wildlife, as well as conflicts that force people to settle and plant crops in areas that the wildlife need to survive.
With statistics to prove the success of past conservation efforts, the Kenyan government remains committed to protecting its wildlife.
For more information, head to the Kenya Wildlife Service website.
What is Magical Kenya Tembo Naming Festival (MKTNF)?
Magical Kenya Tembo Naming Festival (MKTNF) is an innovative sustainability mechanism to champion elephant conservation in Kenya. It offers individuals and organisations an opportunity to support conservation effort
The goal of the festival is to secure a future for elephants and their habitats in peaceful co-existence with humans while providing benefits and for posterity. The loss of ecosystem connectivity and rising human-elephant conflicts needs urgent attention by the public.
The elephant species plays a key role is shaping our livelihoods, including the well-being of communities living around the parks, reserves and conservancies. In recent years, elephant poaching has reduced significantly but human-elephant conflicts has increased in many regions within the country. This is as a result of the increasing loss of habitat and competition in land use.
When is the event?
The event will be held in Amboseli National Park on 9th October, 2021
Why the elephants/Tembo?
The African Savannah elephant is the world’s largest land mammal. It is an “emotional & intelligent” species with feelings, compassion and self-awareness. Elephants present tremendous challenges for their successful conservation (Large size, feeding behaviour and mobility). It is also an “umbrella” species, whose protection provides collateral security for overall biodiversity & tourism industry. A “conflict” and “engineer” species, capable of modifying habitats to the benefit or detriment of different plant and animal species on a local or wider scale.
The African savannah elephants are currently listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
What are the present threat to elephant conservation in Kenya?
- Degrading / declining habitat
- Ivory poaching
- Human-elephant conflict
- Climate change and diseases
- Limited resources (worsened by COVID 19 pandemic)
Intervention & where support is required for elephants?
- Conservation education and community engagement
- Securing connectivity in critical habitats
- Employing new technology including Collaring to provide data and information on habitat use and infrastructure development, Innovative and Light-based deterrents for early detection and warning
- Over the years, there has been a gradual change in elephant death from poaching to human elephant conflict (HEC), natural and unknown causes. Construction of Electric fences and other mitigation measures will aid in reducing HEC
- Annually there is a conservation deficit of Kshs. 1billion and this gets worse in situation when we have pandemics
Why Amboseli National Park?
Amboseli has been selected as the initial launch ecosystem due to its healthy population of elephants and hosts the extensively researched African elephants. The park is quite small to host the growing number of elephant births. It is therefore important to salvage some of the less disturbed areas around the park to win more space for elephants. This will be done by supporting the land lease program and community wildlife conservancies’ establishment.
- Amboseli NP-392km
- Amboseli +Ranches- 5700km
- Amboseli +Ranches Dispersal Areas= 9124km
- Directly linked to West Kilimanjaro, Tsavo West and Chyullu National Parks
The first Magical Kenya Tembo Naming Festival will be launched in Amboseli National Park and later organise more series of the naming ceremonies in other conservation areas.
Who is eligible for the adoption and naming program?
The adoption program is open to the general public considering that elephant conservation is a collective responsibility. From individual to corporates, institutions and general public. Both local and international.
Where can I get the information about the event?
Information is available in the Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Tourism Board, Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife websites and at Amboseli National Park.
How many elephants can one adopt or name?
There is no limit in adoption and naming of the identified elephants as long as one is able to meet the cost indicated under each category
How much does it cost to adopt and name an elephant?
From as low as Ksh 1,000 for individuals and Ksh50, 000 for corporates one can qualify to be an adopting parent however for one to name they must donate a minimum Kshs.500, 000
Are there adoption/naming categories?
Yes we have three categories up for adoption in 2021, these include the twins, legendary tuskers and new born up for adoption in 2021. See attached the list via See attached brief
How do I make payments?
Through KWS Mpesa pay bill 520520 – Account Number: Tembo Naming or KWS Bank Account on KWS Donations Account, Standard Chartered Bank, Account Number 01080330337400, Langata Branch
Where can I adopt or name from?
You can adopt from KWS website, KTB website, Ministry of Tourism and wildlife website and Amboseli national park or call +254708191522, +254775921933 / Toll Free No. 0800597000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Will I be allowed to go home with my adopted elephant?
NO. The adopted elephants remain at the national park since is a “symbolic” adoption however periodic update will be sent to the adopting/naming parent from time to time.
What is the adoption process?
The adopting/naming parent will identify the from KWS, KTB ,Ministry of tourism and wildlife or Amboseli national park, fill adoption form, and make payments then attend the Magical Kenya Tembo naming festival schedule for 9thOctober , 2021
Are there benefits for adopting or naming an elephant?
Yes each category has its own benefits such as an adoption certificate, opportunity to attend the festival, free visits to parks, branded merchandize, recognition on KWS social media and website among others.
How else can I support?
By giving unrestricted donation, purchasing the events branded merchandize or support the event budget either in cash or in-kind or book a table at the fundraising cocktail.
Are there any other events during the festival apart from the naming ceremony?
Yes such as spot, snap and share event and cultural festival that will take place a day before the main event
Is the event open to people who live outside Kenya?
Yes the event is open to the general public both locally and internationally.
Jessica Poitevien is a Travel + Leisure contributor currently based in South Florida, but she’s always on the lookout for her next adventure. Besides traveling, she loves baking, talking to strangers, and taking long walks on the beach. Follow her adventures on Instagram.