Meet the desert elephants
EHRA's area of operation has expanded since we first established the elephant patrols 10 years ago, when we primarily worked in the Ugab River basin. Today the patrols extend north to the next river systems: the Huab and the Goantagab, as far north as the town of Khorixas and as far east as the town of Omajette. In this area there are 3 distinct family groups of elephants, plus individual bulls.
The Ugab River elephants are very well known to EHRA, and below you will find photos of every elephant in this area. They form 3 herds in total and together with the bulls, they currently number 32 resident elephants, this includes the younger elephants and calfs. Each year between September and December, three other bulls move into the area from the east.
EHRA's patrols concentrate on these herds, as conflict incidents can be high, and for 2014 we are collecting dung from each elephant for a genetics project. The aim of the project is to test the hypothesis that Voortrekker is the only bull breeding in the area. Any volunteers joining EHRA will assist with this task!
The Huab River elephants live in larger herds, possibly because of less stress with more available food and water. They also are much more habituated to humans, due to the daily game drives in the river from 5 local lodges. These elephants also live in three herds: two herds that are very calm and relaxed and a third group that is rarely seen but is very distinctive with its lack of tusks. With the few bulls in the area, they total 36 resident elephants (again including young elephants).
The Khorixas elephants moved into the area in 2010, we believe from the northern Kamanjab area. These herds have chosen an area with a high human population density, resulting in many conflict incidents and even loss of human lives. As a result the MET has declared several bull elephants as 'problem elephants', so they can be shot by a hunter, which provides some monetary compensation to the people adversely affected by the elephants' presence. EHRA has been concentrating our water point protection programme in this area to help decrease conflicts, and in 2014 we are conducting PEACE Project education seminars on a regular basis in communities to help people live with the elephants. These elephants are very difficult to observe and identify, as the terrain is often impenetrable, plus the elephants are very scared of vehicles. During full-moon night watches, we have been able to count three to four larger herds with ten or more elephants in each.
The Ugab River elephants
Voortrekker: The eldest and only breeding bull Bennie: Adult Bull
Cheeky: Adult Bull Tsaurab: Adult Bull
Mama Afrika's Herd
Mama Afrika: Matriarch Mathilda: Adult Female
Roo: Adult Female Deliwa: Adult Female (Mama Afrika's daughter)
The Duchess: Adult Female Medusa: Adult Female
Kambonde: Male Sub-Adult Santosha: Male Sub-Adult
Ulysseb: Juvenile Male Ulysses: Juvenile Male
Carissa: Juvenile Madiba: Mama Afrika's Calf
Deliwa's Female Calf Otumwe Male Calf (The Duchess' calf)
The Ugab Small Herd
Betty: Matriarch Doris: Adult Female
Tamla: Sub-Adult Female Cynthia: Juvenile Female
Betty's Female Calf Doris' Female Calf
Bellatrix: Matriarch Claudia: Adult Female
Daphne: Adult Female Juno: Adult Female
Stellar: Sub-Adult Male Tremor: Juvenile Male
Tatiana: Juvenile Female Claudia's Female Calf
To read more about how EHRA identifies each elephant have a look at the 'Identification of Elephants' page.