Tourism CS Najib Balala on Thursday, August 13, honored President Uhuru Kenyatta by proposing that a set of elephant twins (male and female) that were born in the Amboseli National Park be named after the president's grandchildren.
The Head of State is a father of two, Baby Wanjiru and Uhuru Jnr, the first and second-born children of his son Jomo and his wife Fiona.
A Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) ranger first spotted the rare set of baby elephant twins in the Amboseli on February 13.
Their mother, Miss, Angelina is a world-famous matriarch around the Amboseli ecosystem that has attracted thousands of tourists to the renowned national park.
Miss Angelina (Far Right) pictured with her herd in the Amboseli National Park on February 13, 2020.KWS
The calves were born into a family of 3 sisters: Aspen (2015), Amola (2011) & Aurora (adopted by Angelina, 2010), and were marked as Amora and Aurora B
CS Balala chose the international elephant day to make the announcement in a bid to raise awareness on the huge gains the country has made in conservation efforts.
In a press statement shared by KWS Communications Director Paul Udoto, the CS was proud to point out that the elephant population had more than doubled over the last two decades.
Kenya has seen more than 100% growth in its elephant population, from 16,000 in 1989 to 34,800 by end of 2019.
He further revealed that in 2020, a total of 7 elephants had been poached, marking a significant drop from last year's total of 34.
Miss Angelina with her twins in Amboseli National Park.KWS
CS Balala and Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku joined guests and representatives of the community living next to Amboseli National park to immortalize elephants, with a clarion call to step up measures to guarantee their survival in a world of competing for land use.
The CS said the human-wildlife conflict was regrettable, even as he stressed the need to avoid zoos, caging in wildlife or building fences and instead allowing wildlife as much freedom as possible.
He said freedom for animals carries a requisite cost that humans must pay for. “There is need to find innovative ways to benefit from wildlife resources,” he added.
Compensation claims totaling Ksh1.5 billion shillings have been paid since he took office two years ago, with Kajiado County getting Ksh95 million.
This year’s World Elephant day theme was “bringing the world together to help elephants.”.
Speaking about the recent outbreak of fires at Tsavo Conservation Area, the CS warned that the government would take stern action against arsonists hell-bent on destroying national parks and reserves.
He added that there were plans to undertake reforestation of Tsavo to cushion it from the effects of the fires.
KWS Director General Brig (Rtd.) John Waweru said World Elephant Day presented a platform for creating awareness on the threats to African and Asian elephants, such as habitat loss, land-use pressure, illegal killings of elephants for both meat and ivory and human-elephant conflicts
Others who attended the event included Cynthia Moss, Director, Amboseli Trust for Elephants; Lucy Waruingi, Director, African Conservation Centre; Joseph Nkanatha, County Commissioner, Kajiado; Betty Radier, CEO Kenya Tourism Board and the Principal Secretary, State Department of Tourism, Hon. Safina Kwekwe and IG (Rtd) Joseph Boinnet, Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife.
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