Elephant poaching in NRT conservancies continues to decline

The number of elephants poached in NRT member conservancies in 2015 was the lowest reported in the last 6 years. The PIKE figure (Proportion of Illegally Killed Elephants) was 38% in 2015, meaning 38% of all dead elephants reported by community rangers had died as a result of poaching or human/elephant conflict. This is a decrease from 46% in 2014, and 81% at the height of poaching in 2012. The 2015 figure would be lower still, if it were not for the worrying number of elephants killed in human/wildlife conflict situations. This is cause for concern for conservancy management teams. In stark contrast to the PIKE figures, the conflict mortality figures are the highest since 2008.

A total of 103 elephant deaths were reported by NRT conservancy scouts and other sources to the Lewa Radio Room between January and December 2015. 39 deaths were as a result of illegal killing (20 poaching & 19 conflict) making the proportion of illegally killed elephants (PIKE) 38%. The total number of conflict cases is almost equal to poaching cases, and this contributes to a higher PIKE level than for poaching alone.

 

Conflict mortality was highest at the end of the dry seasons, when competition for water with livestock was highest

Addressing the root causes of human/elephant conflict will have to become a priority for certain conservancies in 2016. This will involve campaigns to raise conservation awareness amongst community members, finding ways to tackle crop raiding, and investigating other conflict scenarios. Conflict mortality was highest in May and October – possibly coinciding with the end of the dry
season when competition for water with livestock is highest.

The positive reduction in poaching incidents, however, is a fantastic achievement. Elsewhere in Africa, elephant poaching continues to increase in conjunction with the unrelenting demand for ivory, northern Kenya is an exception. This is a result of the dedication of  the community conservancy rangers, the mobile anti-poaching units (9-1 and 9-2) and their effective partnerships with the Kenya Wildlife Service and the Kenya Police.

Read the full report here.

A large herd of elephants roam across Loijuk Lake, on the border of Westgate and Namunyak Conservancies