The Future of Kenya's Elephants Hangs In the Balance

Kenyan elephants risk a slow extinction in a bleak, ever-shrinking “ecological island” in one of the country’s most picturesque and photographed landscapes, according to a government report. The animals face a grim future as habitat loss is exacerbated by the pandemic’s impact on tourism, which is pushing landowners to sell off areas for development, and a growing trend towards a sedentary lifestyle among the pastoralist Maasai people, says the new 10-year management plan. Increased and unregulated grazing in the Amboseli national park is destroying plant and animal diversity, aggravating conflicts between humans and wildlife and intensifying the negative effects of climate crisis with flooding and drought. If nothing is done urgently to secure the ecosystem, the report says, the park risks becoming an “ecological island”, confining the 1,800 elephants that live there into a tight circle of five animals to each square kilometre as opposed to their basic survival threshold of one elephant to every square kilometre.

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