The forest elephants have been the subject of much debate over the years, with many people claiming they were endangered, but now the elephant population in the African country is on the rise.
A new report, which has seen the number of African elephants in Kenya rise by 70% in the past decade, has now been released to the public, revealing the elephant habitat in the national park.
“We are seeing increasing numbers of elephants, which means that there is more opportunity for them to find food and survive in a wild environment,” said Dr. David Lohman, a researcher with the University of New South Wales, which is the lead author of the study.
The new findings are based on the latest available data on elephant population numbers.
The findings have been published in the journal Science Advances, and were also supported by the African Wildlife Conservation Society.
The report, titled ‘What we know about elephants and forest wildlife’, focuses on elephant numbers in the Kibera National Park.
“The Kiberas elephants are the only national park in Africa with elephants in the wild,” said Lohmann.
“This has a major impact on their ability to travel between protected areas.”
The researchers found that the elephant populations in the park increased by 70%, to 2,766 animals in 2013, with more than 100% of the population being male.
According to Lohmans, while the elephant numbers are increasing, so are the numbers of other wildlife species, such as lions, cheetahs and rhinos.
“Most of these animals have declined in recent decades,” he said.
“For example, lions are declining in many parts of Africa due to poaching and hunting.”
The research also found that a large proportion of the elephants in Kiberos national park were female, with just over half of them born.
“This is not a new situation,” said Prof. Richard Tew, from the University’s Department of Biological Sciences, who was not involved in the research.
“It is common for elephants to become mothers and leave their breeding groups when they are very young,” he told BBC News.
“Young elephants are vulnerable to predators like wolves and hyenas, so the numbers are decreasing because they are less able to hunt.”
In the wild, elephants have adapted to a life in forests, Lohms told BBC Africa.
“When they come into contact with humans, they learn to trust humans, to be friendly and not to bite,” he added.
“The animals have been adapted to that and now, with climate change, they can no longer cope.”
The elephant population is estimated at 2,500, and it is hoped the population will rise by 50% by 2026.