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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Elephant Underpass

Elephant populations are becoming increasingly fragmented:

Road to Recovery?, National Geographic: An African elephant approaches an underpass beneath the busy Nanyuki-Meru road in northern Kenya...

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Photograph courtesy Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

The first of its kind for elephants, the underpass will ideally provide a safe corridor for the large mammals to move throughout the Mount Kenya region (map), where highways, fences, and farmlands have split elephant populations, according to Geoffrey Chege, chief conservation officer of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, a Kenya-based nonprofit.
Without the underpass, animals that try to move between isolated areas often destroy fences and crops—leading to conflicts with people.
Since its completion in late 2010, the underpass has been a "tremendous success"—hundreds of elephants have been spotted walking through the corridor...

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Photograph courtesy Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

At first, only adult male elephants ventured through the underpass, and then only at night.
But before long whole family groups were passing through during the day...

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Image courtesy Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

Currently the region's elephant populations are divided into two isolated groups: 2,000 animals in Mount Kenya and 7,500 in the Samburu-Laikipia ecosystem, according to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.
The elephant underpass ... could improve the genetic health of northern Kenya elephants, since more genes will mix as the animals move into various territories and find new mates.
The corridor may also mean that elephants will move around more, reducing pressure on habitats—and possibly helping other species that use the same resources, such as the black rhinoceros, according to the conservancy. ...

    Posted by on Sunday, June 24, 2012 at 01:17 AM in Economics, Environment, Kenya, Travel | Permalink  Comments (14)

          


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