Many animal populations had been pushed to endangered status over the past few decades with the main threat being both legal & illegal wildlife hunting and poaching.
Among the most threatened animals in Kenya are the Rhinos and Elephants, as their tusks and horns makes them prime targets for poachers. Their horns are sought after by Asia as they are used in traditional folk medicine, a treatment for impotence, hangovers and cancer.
According to the International Rhino Foundation, three African rhinos were poached every day over the past five years.
In 2017, a total of 69 elephants out of an estimated population of 34,000 were killed. Out of a population less than a 1000, 9 rhinos were killed.
In 2013 the Wildlife Conservation Act was approved 2013 ruling that offenders are sentenced for life or fined with US $200,000. This was not enough to curb poaching. Therefore implementing the most extreme measure being THE DEATH PENALTY. Hopefully this harsh sentence will save the elephants, rhinos and all the other endangered species from distinction.
What holds a threat to elephants and rhinos?
• The single biggest threat is poaching mostly by organized crime syndicates.
• Illegal and legal hunting. (South Sudan has banned all forms of hunting)
• Elephants needs a lot of room to roam. Habitat loss including forest destruction due to human expansion, buildings, roads etc. Only 25% of land on earth is free form the impact of human activities, this will decline to 10% by 2050.
• Vulnerability to natural disasters and disease causes a decrease in numbers.
Valuable benefits of elephants and rhinos to the environment.
• Elephants by eating tree seeds and fruit, defecating the seed and disperse it in their feces often away from the parent plant.
• Rhinos by grazing on grass help to keep the grass short so that impalas, zebra and wildebeest have access to food.
• Urine and feces carry concentrated nutrients that benefits the entire landscape.
All the efforts by conservationists’ are not in vain. The white rhino was almost extinct with only 50-100 rhinos left in the wild, this subspecies increased to between 19 600 and 21 085. The largest portion of these rhinos’ lives in South Africa. Conservancies in Kenya currently covers more than 6.3 million hectares, impacting more than 700 000 people securing 65% of the wildlife found outside national parks and reserves.
From 2012 to 2013 poaching has declined between 78 and 85%.
Since then, poaching has declined a great deal due to increased awareness to wildlife conservation law enforcement.