Alarm over elephant trophy hunting on Kenya-Tanzania border


A herd of elephants feeding at the Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary within the Tsavo West National Park in Taita Taveta County.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Governor terms the recent killing of iconic elephants an alarming development.
  • Elephants in Amboseli usually migrate to Tsavo National Park and into Tanzania.

Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku has raised concern over cases of elephant trophy hunting on the Tanzanian side of the Kenya-Tanzania border, terming it a major threat to the rich natural heritage.

In a statement issued over the weekend, Governor Lenku said the matter weighs heavily on Kajiado County which shares the transboundary resource and acknowledges the urgent need to scale up joint conservation efforts between the two countries to preserve the natural heritage.

In recent months, three iconic elephants have tragically fallen victim to trophy hunters in Tanzania, signaling a disturbing breach of an existing conservation agreement.

"While we respect the sovereignty of each nation, we adhere to international frameworks governing the management of transboundary resources, which are imperative at both global and regional levels," Governor Lenku said.

"Through our participation in the East African Cooperation and our Legislative Assembly, we are committed to trans-border conservation policies," he said in the statement.

Governor Lenku further said the recent killing of the iconic elephants is an alarming development that underscores the urgent need for heightened vigilance and decisive action to uphold conservation efforts in the region and by extension the Amboseli National Park.

"The renowned elephants that inhabit the range in both northern Tanzania and Kenya region symbolise the interconnectedness of ecosystems and serve as a testament to the importance of transboundary conservation," he said.

Mr Lenku has also sounded an alarm over the recent issuance of three additional hunting permits, saying it threatens the existence of the mammoth creatures and the efficacy of conservation strategies.

He urged the national government and relevant institutions, including the East African Legislative Assembly, to swiftly intervene.

"We call upon our Tanzanian counterparts to carefully consider the long-term implications of such actions and to join us in preserving our shared natural heritage for future generations," he said.

Over the years, he said, a critical moratorium has effectively protected elephants from trophy hunting that transcends borders.

This measure has been established due to the animals' immense value to global heritage, tourism promotion, and scientific research.

The new development comes as the handover of the Amboseli National Park from the Kenya Wildlife Service to Kajiado County government gathers momentum.

The park is considered the home of the African elephant and has become a centre of research for wildlife.

Elephants in Amboseli usually migrate to Tsavo National Park and then cross over to Tanzania within the rich wildlife ecosystem.