A two-week-old elephant calf has been spotted at Namib desert. Picture: Christophe Pitot
A two-week-old elephant calf has been spotted at Namib desert. Picture: Christophe Pitot

A Christmas miracle as newborn elephant calf discovered in world’s oldest desert

By Staff reporter Time of article published Dec 23, 2019

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It’s a Christmas miracle. A two-week-old elephant calf has been spotted in the Namib desert, the world's oldest desert. 

With an increase in elephant poaching, human-wildlife conflict and global warming, the birth and survival of this elephant calf are miraculous given the extreme conditions this young one is born into, Namibian-registered NGO Elephant-Human Relations Aid (EHRA) revealed in a statement. 

During a routine elephant patrol with a group of EHRA conservation volunteers earlier this month, the team came across the newborn calf. The calf is believed to be female and less than two weeks old. 

The organisation revealed that the calf was seen diligently following her mother and trying to hide in her shadows to avoid the harsh sunlight. The team continued to monitor the herd for a full week to ensure the calf's well-being and overall welfare of the herd. 

Despite ongoing droughts in the region and increasing human-wildlife conflict; free-roaming African desert elephants have managed to survive in the semi-arid desert of Namibia for several decades. Temperatures in the Namib desert can easily reach 45°C in the summer months. 

The calf mortality rate in the Southern Kunene region of Namibia is very high, with most calves unable to survive in these extreme living conditions of diminishing water and food resources. Most calves that are born in this particular part of Namibia die within a few days after birth. 

Fortunately, the recent rainfall in the area and the little one’s spirit has helped this calf to become a healthy, playful young elephant. Rachel Harris, Managing Director of EHRA, said Namibia is one of the very few countries which still tolerate free-roaming desert elephants.

She said together with local conservancies and conservation partners, such as EHRA, the country aimed to foster peaceful relationships between communities and their elephant visitors. 

“EHRA has been a key player in the region for over 15 years by helping to mitigate conflict situations by offering practical solutions to rural communities who have been negatively affected by elephant visits. Seeing this newborn desert elephant roam freely together with her mother is the greatest Christmas gift. We are all pleased to have discovered her and hope she will survive through the summer,” she said. 


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