Order immediate ban on elephant hunting, President Suluhu urged

Mar 20, 2024 | News

By Gilbert Koech, The Star

Trophy hunting in Enduimet area of Tanzania risks wiping out the shared resource

  • The targeted elephants are males in their reproductive prime.
  • Hunting undermines conservation efforts, disrupts the social structure of elephant communities, and threatens their future.

Over 50 conservation organisations have petitioned Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu to order an immediate ban on elephant trophy hunting.

The organisations warn the ongoing trophy hunting in the Enduimet area of Tanzania risks wiping out the shared resource.

WildlifeDirect, Wildlife Conservation and Management Professionals Society of Kenya, ElephantVoices, Ulinzi Africa Foundation, Amboseli Trust for Elephants, and Save the Elephants have signed the petition.

Others signatories are the Conservancies Association of Kenya, Luigi Footprints Foundation, Maniago Safaris, Wildlife Clubs of Kenya, Teens For Wildlife, Stand Up Shout Out, Nature Kenya, Amboseli Ecosystem Trust, Action For Cheetah Kenya, Big Life Foundation, and Conservation Alliance of Kenya.

The petition says that each elephant is known individually, most of them from birth.

It says the recent trophy hunting not only endangers elephants but also jeopardises this irreplaceable body of knowledge and the genetic legacy of some of Africa’s largest-tusked elephants.

“The targeted elephants are males in their reproductive prime and, with tusks symbolising their grandeur, are critical for maintaining the population’s genetic propensity for large tusks, which are a major draw for tourism, a vital sector for both our countries.”

The petition says the hunting of these individuals undermines conservation efforts, disrupts the social structure of elephant communities, and poses a significant threat to the future of this population.

“We implore you to recognise the scientific, ecological, and economic value of the Amboseli elephants and to grant permanent protection to these icons of Africa in the cross-border area that is part of their regular range,” the petitioners say.

The organisations want Suluhu to formalise regulations to ban hunting of elephants in Enduimet Wildlife Management Area, Narco Ranch, Longido GCA, Lake Natron East GCA, and Lake Natron North GCA, and collaborate with Kenya to find alternative conservation strategies that ensure the Amboseli elephants’ protection.

There was an international outcry when four individually known elephants, subjects of the Amboseli Elephant Research Project, were shot by trophy hunters on the Tanzanian side of the border in 1994.

In 1995, a moratorium on trophy hunting of this cross-border elephant population was agreed upon between nations.

Late last year, however, two adult males were shot south of the border in Tanzania, ending a 30-year trophy hunting moratorium.

A third elephant was shot in the same area in late February 2024, and, as of March 10, a further three licenses are said to have been granted, raising alarm and putting the integrity of the Amboseli elephant population in jeopardy.

The Amboseli elephants live in Kenya and Tanzania.

The ecosystem includes Amboseli National Park and the surrounding conservancies and lands in Kenya (8,000 km2) and the Enduimet Wildlife Management Area and beyond in Tanzania.

There are currently 2,000 elephants in this ecosystem.

For 51 years, these elephants have been closely studied by the Amboseli Elephant Research Project.

It is the longest continuously running study of elephants in the world and one of the longest studies of any animal.

Each elephant is known individually, has a code number or name, and is documented photographically.

Birth dates for all but a few of the older individuals are known, as are those of the mother, the family, and, in some cases, the father.

A detailed database contains every elephant identified over five decades, including births and deaths, and numbers over 4,000 individuals.

A linked database houses every recorded sighting.

The Amboseli data is an extraordinarily rich and important body of knowledge.

Each individual and each record is a building block that underpins this immense scientific achievement gained over the past half century.

There are 63 elephant families in the Amboseli population, of which 17 families, consisting of 365 members, regularly spend time in Tanzania.

In addition, approximately 30 adult male elephants, over the age of 25 use the Enduimet area and beyond in Tanzania as part of their home range.


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