Amboseli Elephants: Trophy Hunting Threatens Cross-Border Giants


The majestic elephants of Amboseli, renowned for their awe-inspiring size and intelligence, have long captivated visitors with their gentle nature. These giants roam freely, following ancient migratory paths between Kenya and Tanzania. Some boast impressive tusks and have thus been named "super-tuskers". According to Richard Bonham, co-founder and executive chairman of the conservation group 'Big Life Foundation', the Amboseli bloodline of Tuskers is probably one of the best in the world.

Kenya's tourism industry heavily relies on its majestic elephants, particularly the famous Amboseli super-tuskers. These gentle giants, however, face a looming threat that transcends borders. Despite freely roaming between Kenya and Tanzania and being extremely habituated to humans, their very survival is under threat.

The Cause for Concern

  • Licensed hunters within Tanzania shot three Kenyan elephants with massive tusks in the past six months.
  • One of the slain elephants, named Gilgil, was a 35-year-old super-tusker in his prime breeding years.
  • These killings sparked global outrage, highlighting the vulnerability of Kenya's elephant population despite a strong anti-poaching stance.


The Different Approaches

  • Kenya maintains a strict zero-tolerance policy towards elephant hunting and ivory trade, focusing on revenue from wildlife safaris.
  • Tanzania allows and regulates trophy hunting for elephants, generating revenue for the government and communities.

The Impact on Kenya's Elephants

The issue arises because elephants, like the Amboseli super-tuskers, disregard human-made borders. Trophy hunting targets elephants with large tusks, who are at the peak of their reproductive years and hold a wealth of knowledge vital for younger generations. The loss of such genetically valuable and revenue-generating elephants poses a significant threat to Kenya's conservation efforts.

A Call to Action

  • Reinstate Moratorium: Conservationists urge Tanzania to implement stricter regulations or reinstate a ban on trophy hunting near the Kenyan border, protecting the cross-border elephant population.
  • Formalize Protection: Kenya and Tanzania are encouraged to formally work together to safeguard the unique Amboseli elephant population.

This situation highlights the complexities of wildlife conservation in Africa. Finding a sustainable solution that protects these magnificent creatures for future generations is crucial.


Visiting Amboseli National Park contributes directly to Elephant Conservation efforts. Prepare for close encounters with these gentle giants, accustomed to respectful human presence.

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