This week we are happy to be able to share a guest post from Kenya Wildlife Service honorary warden Colin Francombe.
Colin has been living in Northern Kenya for 50 years and is a devoted conservationist. His knowledge of the Samburu and their ecosystem is encyclopaedic and he is highly respected amongst the Samburu as an elder of the Kimaniki age group.
In 1989 Kenya took a stand by burning its ivory stockpiles, worth millions of dollars, in the hope that other countries would follow suit and prevent the African elephant from extinction. This statement strengthened the newly formed CITIES total ban on ivory trade, collapsing the market on ivory and allowing the Elephant to recuperate.
In 1997 the total ban was lifted to allow experimental trade with China and Japan, now blamed for fueling a market that has seen a population of 300,000 African Elephants dwindle to an approximate 20,000, facing local extinctions all over Africa.
Colin was instrumental in the kind of action that these Elephant now desperately need once again if they are to survive, and this week he shares with us his tale of the Ivory Bonfire: More
Three weeks ago we told the story of a poached elephant and a little about the devastating rise in ivory trade. This week we tell you the fate of the mother’s missing orphan.
A couple of weeks had passed since we lost the trace of the orphan. There had been one small shower, not enough to nourish the land, but enough to completely wipe any baby elephant tracks in the area it was last seen.
Rising early Talis and I walked to the luga to redig a well. Around midday we walked to the point where it meets the Waso river and came across some morani. These Morani had come from further north and were walking to soko (markets) which were taking place the next day about half a day’s walk away. They told us a young baby had been spotted with a herd way north on the Waso. We knuckled down to walk through the intense heat of the afternoon.
1. two bullets on a poached Elephant’s skin, one unspent round used as an example provided by a KWS ranger for the photo and one recovered from the Elephant in autopsy
This is a personal account of an Elephant that was poached while
I was living with Talis in Waso, and the search for her orphaned calf.
We heard from one of our wildlife monitors that an Elephant had been poached near the Sieku valley. Our monitors are trained to check for breast milk that would indicate that her calf may be too young to survive alone with the herd.
We arrived and were shown the body of the mother. She was lying under a tree next to a gulley and her body had already had signs of hyena trying to feed on her the night before.