Tembo naming festival in the Amboseli National Park is expected to boost conservation efforts of the elephants, Tourism CS Najib Balala said on Saturday.
Balala, while speaking during the tail-end of the festival, said jumbos have for years been endangered as a result of poaching.
He said only 11 elephants were killed by poachers in 2020 as compared to 386 in 2013.
“This exercise of sponsors coming in to sponsor a Jumbo at Sh500,000 or US$5,000, is an effort geared toward saving these elephants,” said Balala.
KWS director general Brig (rtd) John Waweru said the idea of raising conservancy money through adoption and naming of the Jumbos was muted 6 years ago.
“We have managed to get a number of sponsors who have come through to assist us in conserving these iconic beautiful animals,” said Waweru.
Waweru said the exercise starts with a sponsor baptising an elephant of his/her choice and thereafter contribute to the animal’s welfare.
He said Kenyans should not only expect foreigners to come and assist in conservation but they are also welcome to help build the Jumbo empire across the country.
The Kenya Tourism Board CEO, Dr Betty Addero Radier said the Jumbo naming exercise has presented her with another product she needs to market abroad.
“We need to go out there and get more sponsors as we can so as to make this program a success,” Radier said.
She said her board is working closely with KWS to make the program of conservation successful.
Kajiado Governor Joseph Lenku said human/wildlife co-existence is a key area of concern for the people of the county.
“As the host of Amboseli National Park, the home to one of the largest populations of elephants in East Africa, we have been working with stakeholders to ensure we give our people and wildlife their own space for survival,” said Lenku.
The founder of Amboseli Trust for Elephants Dr Cynthia Moss was also present.
The festival entailed collaring of elephants which will help in tracking migratory corridors and identifying their behaviour to enable monitoring and mitigating human-wildlife conflict.