Africa's first dedicated elephant underpass, in use near the slopes of Mt. Kenya.
Africa's first dedicated elephant underpass, in use near the slopes of Mt. Kenya. Jason Straziuso/AP
Now for a break from the big news of the day to take note of a small step forward for the future of elephants in Kenya.
Two distinct elephant populations near Mount Kenya have been united with the opening of Africa's first dedicated elephant underpass.
The elephants, who had been separated for years by human development, can now safely cross under a major regional highway.
The $250,000 underpass is a key element in the larger effort to create a corridor linking 2,000 elephants on Mount Kenya's highlands with 7,500 in the forests and plains below.
The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy says that on January 1, 2011, an elephant known as "Tony" was the first to make use of the underpass. The group also says that the success of the corridor is important for the conservation of the animals and their habitat:
The long-term implications of the success of this corridor are massive in terms of re-establishing genetic connectivity between these two elephant populations, reducing the habitat pressure within Lewa, and being a key element on the application for inclusion as a World Heritage Site with Mt. Kenya.