NAIROBI, October 9 (Xinhuanet) – Kenya announced on Saturday that it had raised 16.5 million shillings ($ 149,000) for elephant conservation against the $ 900,000 goal for the current fiscal year ending June 2022.
Najib Balala, cabinet secretary for the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, said the funds were raised from businesses and individuals in exchange for the right to adopt and name selected elephants during the Tembo (Elephant) Naming Festival initiative.
“This is certainly a great milestone for Kenya and this initiative will make a great contribution to ensuring that elephants in Kenya are not only protected for ourselves, but also for future generations,” said Balala during the first Magical Kenya Tembo Naming Festival, that took place in Amboseli National Park, Kajiado County, which is about 200 km south of Kenya’s capital Nairobi.
Balala added that both the public and private sectors have a role to play in preserving the iconic species.
According to the Kenya Wildlife Census Report 2021, the East African nation is home to a total of 36,280 elephants, up 21 percent from 2014 when poaching peaked.
Betty Radier, CEO, Kenya Tourism Board, praised the private sector for the initiative to name elephants and pointed out the great role of nature conservation in tourism and thus also the support of livelihoods.
“Preserving our wildlife resources remains vital to us to ensure that future generations enjoy our land’s heritage, natural resources and the incredible species that live in it,” said Radier.
She noted that Kenya’s tourism sector is largely dependent on natural resources, including wildlife, and should therefore be protected.
John Waweru, director general of the Kenya Wildlife Service, said the goal of the elephant naming festival is to secure a future for elephants and their habitats in peaceful coexistence with humans.
Waweru added that while the country has made great strides in protecting elephants, the ongoing loss of the ecosystem and increasing conflicts between humans and elephants are still a challenge.