BREAKTHROUGH For Amboseli Elephants
Elephant in the Amboseli Ecosystem © Kathy Karn Photography
You may have seen a recent headline that the IUCN has listed African elephants as endangered due to poaching and habitat loss. This heartbreaking news comes despite decades of efforts to stop poaching, because we are losing the wilderness landscapes that elephants depend on. For anyone who has visited the Amboseli National Park, it is unimaginable that such an iconic landscape, with spectacular views of gentle elephants with the backdrop of Mt Kilimanjaro, could be put at risk for a green fruit – avocados. At stake is the water, the habitats, wildlife, tourism (Amboseli is Kenya’s premier national Park), elephants, climate, the future of pastoralism and of course the well being of the local people. Kenya’s hard-earned conservation reputation will be in tatters. The seriousness of the threat is so grave that earlier this year, KiliAvo Fresh accused me of contempt of court for raising awareness about it on social media. They wanted me jailed for speaking out about the threats their operation posed to Kenya. The judge threw the case out but to our dismay, the farming continued. This month, however, we finally witnessed a breakthrough for elephants – the judge has issued a stop order to the avocado farm as the full case is heard. This is just the beginning of a journey to defend the integrity of Kenya’s magnificent parks and wildlife by supporting efforts to secure buffer zones and dispersal areas for giants like elephants. We dedicate this issue of Wildlife Tracks to the memory of Tim, one of the most famous elephants in Africa who died of natural causes in Amboseli exactly 1 year ago.