Throughout the pandemic, Kenya has experienced an elephant baby boom with over 200 calves born over the last year. Although the lack of tourists has been beneficial for some animal populations, the lack of funding from visitors has also hindered conservation efforts. To better protect wild animals, Kenya is taking advantage of its quiet parks to conduct its first-ever comprehensive animal count of all animal and marine life across its 58 national parks.
Although the pandemic provided a brief respite for elephants and other large animals, wild animal populations in Kenya have experienced an alarming decline over the last few decades. Researchers hope that a complete count of the parks’ animals will offer a more detailed picture of populations’ health and insights into the most effective conservation strategies for the more than 1,000 native species which call the country home.
The animal census is being conducted by Kenya’s Wildlife Service (KWS), which relies on GPS trackers, aircraft, camera traps, and on-the-ground volunteers to account for creatures big and small. The efforts will focus specifically on endangered animals like the pangolin, the sitatunga antelope, aardvarks, and hedgehogs.
KWS plans to have its census completed by the end of July so it can begin designing and implementing conservation projects informed by the data they collect.