Satellite Collars For Desert-adapted Elephants

3 Oct 2023

The non-governmental organisation “Elephant Human Relations Aid (EHRA)” has recently fitted another desert-adapted elephant with a collar carrying a satellite tracking device to monitor its movements. 

This is done to collect more information about Namibia's famous 'desert elephants' in the northwestern parts of the country. In this way possible human-wildlife conflicts can be minimised and prevented with the rural population in the area, since both elephants and humans compete for water. 

The elephant is sound asleep thanks to the anesthetiser.
Photo: EHRA 

 

As usual during such a collaring exercise, the elephants are darted with an anesthetiser. The experienced EHRA employees, volunteers, nature conservation officers and a veterinarian from the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) work hand in hand to complete the process as quickly as possible. 

The tusks and the size of the feet are also measured and then the elephant is given an antidote to wake up. Staff will stay nearby for a while – maintaining a respectful distance - to ensure the animal is comfortable once it wakes up and joins the nearby herd – or in the case of a bull – continues with his normal routine. 

An elephant has just been fitted with a satellite collar.
Photo: EHRA 

 

“Collecting data on desert elephants can help us better understand elephant behaviour and ensure their protection. In this way, the best possible strategies for reducing conflict with the people in the area can be developed,” says EHRA. 

The NGO was registered in Namibia in 2003 and can now look back at twenty years of elephant conservation in the Erongo and Kunene regions, formerly Damaraland and Kaokoland. Its main focus is to conserve the desert elephant population through anti conflict measures and awareness among the rural communities there. 

EHRA and volunteers built a strong wall of natural stones around a water point to prevent elephants entering.
Photo: EHRA 

 

EHRA is funded by donations and has a volunteer programme as helpers are needed to build separate water points for elephants and other game and to protect existing water points of communal farmers and villagers from elephants through thick stone walls among others. 

Brigitte Weidlich

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