The first Tembo Naming Festival took place yesterday in Amboseli National Park, where more than 20 elephants were named.
The sponsors, also adoptive parents of the elephants, received a certificate and a picture of their adopted elephant. The annual festival aims to promote the protection of elephants.
The event attracted 24 sponsors who gave between Sh50,000 and Sh2.5 million to have an elephant named after them.
The largest amount came from the East African Safari Rally Ltd, which gave Sh2.5 million and named five elephants.
The sponsors were mostly corporate firms, with only three individual sponsors, each of whom gave Sh50,000.
The naming ceremony had several categories, namely; Calves born in the last two years, legendary tusks (large tusks) and the twin category.
One year and eight month old twin elephants were named Scott and Scotty, sponsored by Elephant Cooperation, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of the African elephant crisis. Twin elephants are an incredibly rare occurrence, with the last recorded twin elephant birth in Kenya in 1980.
Amboselis Big Tusker, known as Craig, was called Tusker, sponsored by East African Breweries Limited (EABL). EABL named two elephants, Tusker and Serian. They gave Sh1 million.
Other sponsors were the African Wildlife Foundation, Animal Adoption Advocacy, Chandaria Foundation, KCB, Bonfire Adventures, Mabati Rolling Mills, Mediheal Hospital and the Kenya Convention Bureau.
Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife Najib Balala said she hopes the festival will get even bigger in the upcoming editions.
“Today is the first time we are launching this campaign … to recognize these iconic endangered animals, the elephants,” he said, adding that the vision was to have this as an international annual event.
Betty Radier, CEO of the Kenya Tourism Board, said it was an important milestone.
“As we continue to develop, nature conservation and tourism are two aspects of the hospitality industry that cannot be separated. Today we feel honored that we will start this journey together, ”she said.
The governor of Kajiado, Joseph Ole Lenku, pledged the support of the county and the community for conservation efforts.