Wildlife officials in Kenya relocate elephants to reduce human-wildlife conflict

Wildlife officials in Kenya have launched a giant operation to relocate 30 elephants with an aim of reducing human-wildlife conflict in the wake of increased complaints from farmers who have lost entire harvests to the roaming creatures.

The east African nation has several thousand elephants, who face threats such as ivory poachers and habitat loss, but they often raid crops and farms as they migrate between parks, angering villagers who rely on the produce to feed their families.

The Kenya Wildlife Service, which transported the animals from Nyeri county, around 200 km (124 miles) north of the capital, Nairobi, to the Tsavo East National Park in a bid to avert such encounters, estimated the operation cost $6 million.

“In efforts to reduce human-wildlife conflicts, we are relocating some elephants from Solio ranch to Tsavo,” Najib Balala, Kenya’s cabinet secretary for tourism, who attended the event, said in a Twitter post.

The Kenya Wildlife Service has said elephant numbers have rebounded from a low of 16,000 in 1989, when the world conservation body CITES banned sales of ivory from African elephants. Kenya’s Wildlife Service was set up a year later. (Reporting by Thomas Mukoya Writing by Karishma Singh Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Susan Mwongeli has more.