African Bush Elephants

Elephants populations in different ecosystems of Kenya :

- Tsavo National Park : 11119 (2014)

- Samburu - Laikipia ecosystem : 7835 (2015)

- Mount Kenya National Park and forests : 3755 (2010)

- Aberdare National Park : 1,920 (2007)

- Aberdare (outside) : 1780 (2007)

- Amboseli ecosystem : 1736 (2015)

- Masai Mara ecosystem : 2072 (2007)

- Shimba Hills : 274 (2012)

- Magadi ecosystem : 30

- Marsabit National Park : 100

- Meru national Park : 659 (2015)

- Mau forest complex : 1003

- Mount Elgon : 139

- North (Garissa, Kora, Meru, Bisanado, Marsabit) : 563

- All coastal area : 1015


About elephant population and conservation in Kenya :


Elephants present tremendous challenges for their successful conservation management, challenges that are in certain aspects unique and in others, typical of wildlife conservation in general.At the centre of the challenge is the biology of elephants. Any management solutions must recognise and accommodate the key aspects of elephant biology, including their:


• Large size and consequent life-history parameters – long potential lifespan, long calf dependence, slow demographic variables resulting in low population growth rates.

• Generalist feeding behaviour, which requires large quantities of vegetation from all layers, ranging in quality from nutritious fruits to coarse grasses and woody stems, from agricultural crops to shrubs and trees.

• High mobility, allowing – indeed requiring – large home ranges.

• Exceptional intelligence, communication and memory, leading to flexible and variable responses to changing habitat conditions and disturbance, as well as recollection of habitat resources and of conflict with people.

• High sociality, with matrilineal family groups as the context for social learning. This social bonding and capacity for learning increases behavioural flexibility, with the passing-on of acquired knowledge, and is also a potential vulnerability, in that if disrupted by the loss of key individuals it can result in aberrant behaviour.


The Human Elephant Conflict (HEC) in Kenya is a contemporary conservation challenge after poaching decimated the elephant population from 165,000 in 1973 to a mere 16,000 in 1990 – a 90% loss. However, the elephant population has been recovering and re-establishing in their former ranges and habitats which are being lost to farming and human settlement.


From the 1970s to the 1980s, ivory trade was rapidly expanding and wiped out about half of Africa’s 1.3 million elephants. Much more recently, between 2007 to 2014, the Great Elephant Census reported a 30% decline in elephant population – equivalent to a loss of 144,000 elephants from a population of 480,000. Today, there are approximately 352,271 elephants remaining in 18 African countries. Despite this, there is much hope for the elephant in Kenya and across the continent.


Source : Conservation and Management Strategy for the Elephant in Kenya 2012-2021 © Kenya Wildlife Service