Lone desert elephant safe and collared (Namibia)
January 27, 2020
Adam Hartman, The Namibian

See link for photo. 

The elephant bull with a tear in its left ear, that wandered into Swakopmund last December will, as from yesterday be managed and monitored by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism after it was collared.

After the elephant was carefully and successfully redirected from its path toward the sea near the Swakopmund salt pans to the inland on Christmas Eve, it wandered back about 100 kilometres to settle in the Omaruru River.

According to the ministry's spokesperson, Romeo Muyunda, environment officials located the beast yesterday and darted and collared it under the direction and supervision of a veterinarian.

“The elephant's condition has improved since it arrived in the Omaruru River from Swakopmund. The area in which it is has good vegetation and a water point, so we are therefore confident that it will survive and thrive here,” said Muyunda.

Blood samples were also taken from the animal to test for possible diseases, while it received a good dose of vitamins to boost its immune system. Muyunda said officials will continue to monitor it until such a time they are guaranteed of its well-being.

“This is a clear demonstration of our commitment to protecting our natural resources, in particular our wildlife,” he said. There is still uncertainty over the origins of the elephant, and why it wandered off to Swakopmund, which caused quite a commotion during the peak of the 2019 festive season at the coastal town.

Rachel Harris of Elephant-Human Relations Aid (EHRA) told The Namibian that the 'Swakop' elephant may have come down the Omaruru River, as it was not identified as one of the desert elephants from Ugab.

Last April, parks and wildlife director Colgar Sikopo said at a national youth week meeting in the Kunene that Namibia's elephant population has more than doubled from 7,500 in 1995 to about 22,000.