The Magical Kenya Tembo Naming Festival – 8th & 9th October 2021
The Kenya Wildlife Service’s (KWS) Magical Kenya Tembo Naming Festival (MKTNF), set to be held at Amboseli National Park on October 8th and 9th 2021 has once again received a boost after three more organizations handed over their contributions towards the initiative. The organizations, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), Mabati Rolling Mills (MRM), and Mediheal Hospital who now join the list of names in the festival, handed over their cheques totalling Ksh 1.5 million during an event officiated by the Cabinet Secretary(CS) for Tourism and Wildlife Najib Balala at the KWS Headquarters in Nairobi. Go Places Media was present to cover the event.
In collaboration with the Kenya Tourism Board(KTB) and the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, KWS aims at curbing the major challenge of the corresponding rise in human-elephant conflicts in many regions within the country with this initiative. The ceremony will allow individuals and organizations to adopt and give names to selected elephants after donating funds towards the program which is aimed at boosting conservation efforts of the endangered species.
Elephant poaching has reduced from a high of 384 cases in 2012 when poaching was at its peak to a record low of 11 in 2020, the lowest ever in Kenyan history. This has resulted in a rapid increase in the elephant population in the country, hosting an estimated 10 percent of the world’s elephant population; the Wildlife Census Report shows that Kenya hosts a total of 36,280 elephants, representing a 21 percent growth from 2014. The aftermath has been the escalation in the loss of habitat and competition in land use between humans and elephants.
MKTNF 2021, through the Tourism and Wildlife Ministry, targets to raise Kshs 15 million towards securing more space for elephants, strengthening conservation education, sinking four boreholes within the ecosystem and improving the livelihood of the communities within Amboseli.
According to Najib Balala, they have been able to raise 12 Million funds so far for the initiative with various corporate partners making contributions. “ We are aiming at raising Kshs 100 Million towards the end of the financial year 2021-2022 particularly for this initiative,” he states. “There will be a clear action plan on how we are going to utilize this fund. The KWS will be responsible for the transparency and accountability of every step we take.”
The Tourism CS points out that the ministry is planning to make the MKTNF an annual event and look for its international ambassador who will champion the drive. He encourages both the government agencies and the private sector to come on board and embrace this initiative. The ministry has established a Conservation Trust Fund co-managed by a private sector, which will help the country to be able to sustain the national heritage.
“This inaugural festival is an innovative sustainability mechanism to champion elephant conservation in Kenya. It offers corporations and individuals an opportunity to support conservation efforts by adopting and naming selected elephants in Amboseli National Park,” Brig. John M. Waweru, the Director-General of KWS informs Go Places Media.
African elephants are the world’s largest land mammals. They are said to be “emotional & intelligent” species with feelings, compassion, self-awareness and also an “umbrella” species, whose protection provides collateral security for the overall biodiversity & tourism industry. The Amboseli ecosystem hosts close to 2000 elephants. The choice of Amboseli National Park for the debut event was motivated by its no-poaching period of over 10 years and the boom in baby elephants at the park during the Covid 19 pandemic period. The park also has very cordial relations with the local community who support conservation efforts.
“Amboseli has been identified as the initial launch ecosystem due to its healthy population of extensively researched African elephants. The park acreage is insufficient to host the escalating number of elephant births. As such, it behoves KWS to salvage some of the virgin lands adjacent to Amboseli to win more for elephants, “explains Waweru. “This will be made possible by supporting the land lease program and establishing community wildlife conservancies that will cost over Kshs 100 Million to sustainably conserve these elephants.”
The KTB chief executive officer (CEO) Dr. Betty Radier points out that there is a symbiotic relationship between wildlife, environment and tourism. KCB Director of Corporate Banking, Esther Waititu says the bank appreciates the opportunity extended to it to play a role in conservation which aligns with its business strategy for best practice in a sustainability framework. “KCB is proud to be part of organizations making a better future for elephants and improving the relations between wildlife and humans,” she confides.
MRM Head of Business, Manish Mehra says that the Festival has opened a door for the company to expand its interests in its Corporate Social Responsibility areas that focus partly on the environment, saying they looked forward to a lasting partnership in the area of wildlife conservation.
The intervention and support towards the Tembo Naming initiative will be needed in conservation education and community engagement, securing connectivity in critical habitats, employing new technology like the construction of Electric fences and other mitigation measures that will aid in reducing human-elephant conflict (HEC).
The initiative will also play a pivotal role in ensuring that the conservation of elephants is not affected by shocks and crises like the Covid-19 pandemic. At the event, there will be three Tembo Naming categories including newborns (21), Legendary Tuskers(2) and Twin elephants(2 sets), with each category having its specified naming fees.
Click Here For More Information on the Festival
Click Here for Tourism News Updates by Go Places Digital