By PHILIP MWAKIO
The Tsavo ecosystem is critical for elephant conservation.
The national park is home to the largest population of elephants and covers about four percent of Kenya.
An aerial census of the animals conducted last month established that there were 12,572 elephants roaming the Tsavo and Mkomazi, Tanzania, nature reserves.
This was increase from 11,696 in 2008.
The fluctuation of elephant population over the past decade has had significant impact on the ecosystem.
Heavy poaching and severe drought had dealt a blow to the elephant populations.
However, since 1990, concerted efforts by the Kenya Wildlife Service and other stakeholders have led to a steady increase in elephant population.
Common challenges that face management of Tsavo are poaching, human encroachment, habitat destruction, human-wildlife conflict, livestock incursions into the park and adverse effects of climate change such as drought.
International Fund for Animal Welfare teamed up with KWS in 2005 to boost management of Tsavo National Park to curb poaching, enforce the law, mitigate against human-wildlife conflict, engage in research, park infrastructure support, community conservation initiatives and