A booming population and wildlife compete for resources to survive.
Kenya’s population has grown exponentially over the last century. Since 1928, a citizenry of 2.9 million has ballooned to more than 49 million today, with the population projected to hit about 65 million by 2030.
Widespread poverty has made many citizens reliant on natural resources. Farming often pushes into critical wildlife habitat, converting habitat and putting humans and wildlife at odds.
Elephants and other wildlife now roam onto farms that are in close proximity to their natural habitats and often fall victim to retaliatory killings when crops are destroyed.
Pastoralist communities engaged in livestock grazing are degrading habitat and wildlife food sources, but human well-being and conservation do not have to be at loggerheads.
Unabated poaching is decimating wildlife populations.
Kenya is home to a rich array of wildlife, making East Africa a hotspot for wildlife crime — acting both as a source and transit route for illegal wildlife products. The lucrative ivory trade encourages poachers to go to extraordinary measures to avoid detection in their slaughter of elephants. Not only are elephants poached but rhinos are also killed for their horns, and giraffes are illegally hunted for their meat, skin, and tails.
Unsustainable development threatens community livelihoods and wildlife.
Habitat fragmentation continues to be a threat to many species in Kenya; including the endangered Grevy’s zebra, whose numbers are only a twelfth of what they were a few short decades ago, giraffe populations have declined by 40 percent in Kenya over the last three decades, and other wildlife, like elephants and lions, are also steadily declining. As the country tries to build an infrastructure to support its population, it often comes at the expense of areas rich in biodiversity.