396 elephants died in 2018 as poaching declined by 50%, says KWS


396 elephants died in 2018 as poaching declined by 50%, says KWS
Elephants in the Maasai Mara. Photo/LISA KAMAU

In Summary

  • KWS stated that the elephant deaths were, however, lower compared to 2017 when the country lost 727 jumbos.
  • Only 40 cases of poaching were recorded in 2018; which is a 50% drop from 2017 when there were 80 cases.
  • The state corporation also dismissed reports published in a section of local dailies alluding to 26 elephant deaths in the Mara through poisoning.

Kenya lost at least 396 elephants in 2018 alone even as Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) says that is a significant decrease from the year before as cases of poaching also declined by half.

In a statement to newsrooms on Thursday, KWS stated that the elephant deaths were, however, lower compared to 2017 when the country lost 727 jumbos.

Only 40 cases of poaching were recorded in 2018; which is a 50% drop from 2017 when there were 80 cases.

“In the Maasai Mara ecosystem a total of 61 elephants have died this year, with 38% (23) of mortalities being as a result of natural causes, 16% (10) were due to human-elephant conflict, 7% (4) were poached and 39% (24) died from causes that were not immediately established since the carcasses were detected when they were petrified and extensively scavenged,” read the statement from KWS Director General Prof. Charles Musyoki.

Two elephants in the Mara were also confirmed to have died from ingesting carbamate insecticides when they strayed into farms that were sprayed with herbicides and pesticides.

KWS further added that the country’s elephant population has remained healthy despite all these deaths, stating that the current estimate of elephants in the country is 35,000 having increased by 119% over a period of 29 years from 16,000 in 1989.

“The Mara ecosystem elephants have increased from 1,000 in 1983 to the present 2,493 translating to an increase of 149% in 35 years,” added the statement.

The state corporation also dismissed reports published in a section of local dailies alluding to 26 elephant deaths in the Mara through poisoning.

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