Sam­buru launches sanc­tu­ary for or­phaned ele­phant calves

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics -

A new sanc­tu­ary that will care for or­phaned and aban­doned ele­phant calves has been es­tab­lished in Sam­buru county.

The North­ern Ran­ge­lands Trust yes­ter­day said the Reteti Ele­phant Sanc­tu­ary, sit­u­ated in the re­mote Mathews Range, is among those with the largest ele­phant pop­u­la­tions. It said at some point, they will be rein­te­grated back into the wild to join the herds ad­join­ing the sanc­tu­ary.

The sanc­tu­ary has been es­tab­lished through a part­ner­ship en­tered into by the Na­mun­yak Wildlife Con­ser­vancy, Sam­buru county, KWS, North­ern Ran­ge­lands Trust, San Diego Zoo, Con­ser­va­tion In­ter­na­tional, Tusk Trust, The Na­ture Con­ser­vancy and Save the Ele­phants, and sev­eral in­di­vid­u­als.

It is es­ti­mated be­tween five and 10 ele­phant calves are res­cued in north­ern Kenya each year, from a pop­u­la­tion of about 8,700. San Diego Zoo Global CEO Dou­glas My­ers lauded the move, say­ing the sanc­tu­ary will help ele­phants main­tain bonds. “We are de­lighted to be part of a new ap­proach to car­ing for the or­phaned ele­phant young­sters that come into the Reteti pre­serve,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to the trust, res­i­dents are happy with the move, as they de­manded it. “They recog­nise wildlife as an op­por­tu­nity to im­prove liveli­hoods,” My­ers said. The trust said the lo­cal com­mu­nity leads in res­cu­ing, re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing and re­leas­ing ele­phants within their home range. Five keep­ers, all from the Na­mun­yak area, have been trained in care, re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and re­lease of ele­phant calves. A board, with mem­bers se­lected from the com­mu­nity, will over­see the sanc­tu­ary’s oper­a­tions.

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