Elephant mortality in the Tsavo went down by over 50% in November

The carcasses of two of the 41 elephants that died in the month of October lying at the national park PHOTO COURTESY

Taita Taveta, KENYA:The elephant mortality in Kenya’s largest national park; Tsavo national parks reduced by over 50% in the month of November.

This is according to the Tsavo trust’s monthly report which was released on Monday.

According to the report, 20 carcasses were located in the national park in November with 14 of them being fresh; meaning the deaths had occurred not earlier than 3 weeks before they were found as compared to the month of October, where 43 carcasses were located with 42 of them being fresh.

All of the carcasses recovered in the month of November were confirmed to have died of natural causes and their tusks were intact while those recovered in October, 42 had died of natural causes while 1 had been poached outside of the park.

According to Dr. Shadrack Ngene, the assistant director Species and Conservation management at the Kenya Wildlife Service, the reduced mortality was as a result of increased rains in the area.

“During dry seasons young and the very old elephants die a lot, now with the rains in November everything normalized,” Ngene told Baraka FM.

The report by the Tsavo Trust, a non-governmental organization working towards protection of Wildlife and its habitat in the region, says most parts of the park had greened up significantly owing to good rainfall in the month.

The national park which borders the Mkomani National park in neighboring Tanzania and Chyulu Hills National park in Kenya’s Makueni county has a big percentage lying on a semi-arid area receiving little rainfall.

According to the National Drought Management Authority monthly report on Taita Taveta county where the Tsavo is located, rainfall in the month of November improved with 27mm on average as compared to the month of October.

This further improved the vegetation in the county improving the density of green leaves by over 0.5 according to the Normalized difference vegetation index statistics for the month of October and November released by the same authority.

The Tsavo ecosystem which consists of two national parks the Tsavo East and Tsavo West boasts of over 12,843 elephants according to statistics carried out by the Kenya wildlife service in February of this year.

The survey which is carried out once in every 3 years with an aim of helping predict and track the population of one of Africa’s most endangered species revealed that the population had improved with over 15% over the past 3 years.

The ecosystem which covers over 42,000 square kilometers is a critical elephant habitat in Kenya, however, deforestation due to human activities over the past few years has seen rainfall patterns worsen which has prompted the KWS to profile the national park among those to benefit from a climate change and adaptation project.

The project will involve the planting of indigenous trees in degraded areas, construction of artificial water dams and removal of non-invasive species from the ecosystem.