By Hillary Lisimba, Tuko
Tourism and Wildlife Minister Najib Balala has launched the maiden Magical Kenya Elephant Naming Festival The idea is to have local and international tourists pay KSh 500k to name an elephant as part of the ongoing conservation efforts The initiative aims at raising KSh 100 million over the next five years, with the first festival slated for August 12 this year which is World Elephant Day.
For half a million Kenya shillings, a tourist can walk into an animal conservation centre and name an elephant, that is according to Tourism and Wildlife Minister Najib Balala. Balala expressed optimism that the tourism sector is picking up after being sent into a lull by COVID-19.
This is after launching the maiden Magical Kenya Elephant Naming Festival at the Amboseli National Park. According to Balala, the idea will be remembered for a long time as it offers both local and international tourists the opportunity to partake in the conservation of wildlife.
Benefits of the Initiative
This will go a long way in raising awareness against the poaching of endangered animals. “It is an initiative that will help us scale up conservation of elephants even higher by ensuring that Kenyans and the world at large are a part of it,” the minister expressed. Balala further added that apart from being able to boost the conservation kitty financially, the festival will give individuals a front seat opportunity to learn more about the jumbos.
Tourists who adopt an elephant will be afforded the coveted chance of giving the elephant its first name, which will then be made complete by a second one based on its history, profile, physical attributes and family role. “The client wants to experience, they don’t just want a product, and we thought by people coming here to name, it will be an experience,” he continued.
At a time where the tourism industry is going through a long lull due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the initiative is meant to cushion conservation centres from such rough patches in the future.
The minister also expressed optimism that the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination exercise and opening of economies around the world have seen the tourism sector rebound. The initiative aims at raising KSh 100 million over the next five years, with the first festival slated for August 12 this year which is World Elephant Day.
Recent statistics indicate that Amboseli National Park is home to over 3,000 elephants, which can be attributed to the remarkable decline in poaching as records show that only 11 elephants were poached in 2020, a massive drop from 386 in 2013.