Kenya plans to raise about Kes 100 million to help boost elephants conservation programmes in the country.
The funds will be raised through charging tourists who will in turn get the chance to give the first name to an elephant at the Amboseli National Park.
The programme, which is dubbed Tembo Naming Festival, is planned to be held on August 12, this year, coinciding with the World Elephant Day.
In the recent years there has been a 96 per cent decline in poaching with 11 elephants poached last year compared with 386 jumbos killed in 2013.
The initiative is billed to bring the world’s attention to the conservation of elephants even as it markets Kenya’s tourism industry.
“Today’s launch of the Magical Kenya Elephant Naming Festival will be remembered for long in the history of Kenya’s elephant conservation efforts. It is an initiative that will help us scale up conversation of elephants even higher by ensuring that Kenyans and the world at large area part of it,” said Tourism CS Najib Balala.
Besides the first name given by the tourists, the giant mammals will also get a Maasai name based on their profile, history, role in the family and physical attributes such as the state of its tusks.
Additionally, Mr Balala said Amboseli National Park was chosen for the festival because of the park’s unique role on elephant conservation, not least a robust research programme on the animals.
The Kajiado County based park is home to the world’s most famous elephant families.
Currently, the park is hosting over 3,000 of the over 34,000 elephants in Kenya. Elephant population has, however, been gradually increasing at annual rate of 2.8 per cent over the last three decades.