From poaching to avocados, Kenya’s elephants face new threat

Shortly after sunrise, Tolstoy comes into view. This wandering giant is a wandering giant whose tusks are almost scratching the earth. He has been roaming beneath Mount Kilimanjaro for nearly 50 years.

He has survived ivory poachers, spear attacks, and terrible drought, but the mighty bull may face a new thr𝚎𝚊t to his natural realm: the increasing demand for avocados.

A turf war has broken out on a 180-acre (73-hectare) avocado farm near Amboseli, one of Kenya’s most important national parks.


Elephants and other wildlife graze against the impressive backdrop of the highest peak in Africa.

From Poaching To Avocados Kenyas Elephants Face New Th.reat 1
Tolstoy the bull elephant has survived many threats. But can he survive Europe\’s craving for avocados?

Opponents of the farm say it hinders the free movement of legendary tusks like Tolstoy – which thr𝚎𝚊tens their very existence – and conflicts with traditional land-use methods.

The farm’s supporters disprove this, saying that its development poses no thr𝚎𝚊t to wildlife and creates much-needed wasteland jobs.

From Poaching To Avocados Kenyas Elephants Face New Th.reat 2
Haven of the wild: Snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro looks down on the sanctuary

The rift underscores a broader struggle for dwindling resources beyond Kenya as wilderness is constrained by expanding arable land to feed a growing population.

Kenya is a significant avocado grower, and exports have increased as the green superfood has become a staple on cafe menus worldwide.

Already the sixth-largest supplier to Europe, Kenya’s avocado exports rose 33 percent to $127 million (107 million euros) in the year to October 2020, according to the Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya.

From Poaching To Avocados Kenyas Elephants Face New Th.reat

In the middle of this bumper year, Kenyan agribusiness KiliAvo Fresh Ltd received approval from the National Environmental Management Agency (NEMA) to set up its avocado farm on land it had bought from local Masai owners.

The cultivation area was cleared from the shrubbery and fenced off, which alerted neighboring titleholders and nature conservation groups.

They argued that large-scale agriculture was prohibited as part of land use management plans in the area.


Under pressure to revoke KiliAvo’s license, NEMA ordered them to stop working in September while investigating the case.

The company has appealed that decision to the Kenyan environmental court, where one case is pending. KiliAvo’s attorneys, CM Advocates LLP, did not respond to the request for comment in time for publication.

But the work on the farm has evolved in a clip.

From Poaching To Avocados Kenyas Elephants Face New Th.reat 3
The farm has been a saviour for tourist workers who lost their jobs because of the pandemic, argues manager Jeremiah Shuaka Saalash

One recent morning farmworkers laid irrigation lines under snow-covered Mount Kilimanjaro to water rows of avocado seedlings. The property has water tanks, a shaded nursery, and boreholes.

Jeremiah Shuaka Saalash, a KiliAvo shareholder and farm manager, said the farm “saved” many tourist workers who were unemployed when nearby safari lodges closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

He said there was room for both industries to thrive, pointing out that a larger farm is already harvesting vegetables nearby.


“I am committed to the coexistence of wildlife and for us to have another source of income,” Saalash told AFP as tractors were working on the red soil.

– Avocados or elephants? – –

Neighboring landowners and wildlife experts firmly believe the two cannot coexist.

From Poaching To Avocados Kenyas Elephants Face New Th.reat 4
Barrier: The electric fence at the KiliAvo Fresh Ltd avocado farm in Kimana

It is said that elephants have already collided with KiliAvo’s electric fence – evidence that it hinders the migration routes of an estimated 2,000 tusks as they leave Amboseli for the surrounding areas to breed and find water and pastures.

“Can you imagine elephants starving to d𝚎𝚊th in Amboseli so that people in Europe could eat avocados?” Kenyan conservationist Paula Kahumbu, who runs the Wildlife Direct campaign group, told AFP.

Revenue from the booming avocado business in Kenya is a blip compared to tourism, which grossed $ 1.6 billion in 2019.


Critics warn that allowing KiliAvo to proceed would set a dangerous precedent for an already stressed ecosystem that other agricultural prospectors keenly eye are closely watching.

Billboards advertising land in Kimana, a fast-growing township near Amboseli, hint at the development afoot.

From Poaching To Avocados Kenyas Elephants Face New Th.reat 5
Destroying the habitat through farming will destroy tourism, says Daniel Ole Sambu from the Big Life Foundation, a local wildlife group

Tolstoy and other wildlife, large and small, are already competing with cars to get to the Kimana Sanctuary, a vital link between Amboseli, the surrounding rangelands, and habitats in the Tsavo and Chyulu Hills parks.


“If we continue like this, Amboseli National Park will be dead,” said Daniel Ole Sambu of the Big Life Foundation, a local conservation group.

“These elephants… will go, and the park will be finished. And that would mean tourism in this area would collapse.”

– Way of life –


Traditional landowners say they have received insufficient consultation on the proposal and warn industrial irrigation, especially on notoriously thirsty crops like avocados, further straining the drought-prone ecosystem.

From Poaching To Avocados Kenyas Elephants Face New Th.reat 6
Fenced farming threatens the timeless lifestyle of Masai herders, say local landowners

The majority of the Maasai in the area around KiliAvo agreed to keep their land open so that wild animals and cattle – the lifeblood of their herding community – can roam freely.

Farms and fences have thr𝚎𝚊tened the carefree movement of the Maasai for generations, said Samuel Kaanki, the leader of an association of 342 titleholders whose land surrounds KiliAvo.


“The culture Maasai will be completely lost. We will lose our way of life,” he told AFP.

Kahumbu said commercial farming in Kenya has become “far more dangerous to animals than poaching” and urged overseas supermarkets to know what they were buying.

She pointed to British food giant Tesco, which in October severed ties with a large Kenyan avocado plantation accused of workplace abuse.


“In a wilderness like this, avocado farming cannot be called sustainable,” said Kahumbu.

Read more Elephant News.


Canidae Pet Food Reviews: An In-Depth Look

Choosing the right pet food is crucial for the health and well-being of our furry friends. In this blog post, we'll delve deep into Canidae pet food, a popular choice among pet owners, and provide an in-depth review based on various sources.

Canidae is a well-known brand in the pet food industry, offering a range of products designed to cater to pets of all ages, breeds, and sizes.

Product Range:

  • Canidae All-Life Stages (Dry): This vet-formulated product suits dogs of all ages, breeds, and sizes. It's available in both dry and wet formulas.
  •  Canidae Pure: A limited-ingredient diet crafted for dogs with food sensitivities. Each recipe typically includes 7 to 10 ingredients.

Key Ingredients

The Canidae All Life Stages Multi Protein Formula, which represents the brand's product line, contains ingredients like chicken meal, turkey meal, brown rice, peas, oatmeal, and barley. Chicken meal, the primary ingredient, is a meat concentrate with nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.

Recalls and Safety

Canidae has had recalls in the past. It's essential to stay updated with the brand's recall history to ensure your pet's safety.

Customer Reviews

The Canidae Dog Food product line has earned an overall rating of 4.5 stars from The Dog Food Advisor. The Canidae All Life Stages Dog Food has received the Advisor's second-highest tier rating of 4.5 stars.

Pros and Cons:

  • Pros: High protein content, suitable for all life stages, contains beneficial ingredients like flaxseed and taurine.
  •  Cons: It contains some controversial ingredients, and not all minerals are chelated, which might affect absorption.


Canidae All Life Stages is a grain-inclusive dry dog food that uses a notable amount of named meat meals as its primary source of animal protein. With an above-average protein content and a profile suggesting a significant amount of meat, it comes highly recommended for pet owners.