By Paula Kahumbu
The Kenya Wildlife Service announced a 14 per cent decline in elephants in the Samburu-Laikipia ecosystem over the last four years. Samburu and Laikipia's image as the poster children for Kenya's wildlife recovery is now dented.
The impact on tourism cannot be ignored. Armed bandits threaten more than elephants. If we can't protect elephants, how can we protect international tourists?
But it's the long term consequences that are of greater concern. One of Kenya's Vision 2030 flagship projects is to develop the tourism potential in the area to elevate tourism income, create jobs, and increase tax revenues. If we have no elephants in Samburu, will tourists bother to come? Putrid elephant carcasses do not make good tourist attractions.
And that is not all. It is now known that the poaching of elephants and rhinos in Kenya and other countries is linked to criminal cartels that are financing al Shabaab and other terrorist organisations. Kenya has remained silent over the seriousness of this, but US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has not. More....