Namibia’s desert elephants are one of two desert elephant populations worldwide, surviving the extreme conditions of Namibia’s arid northwest where annual rainfall averages 150mm. As a keystone species, the elephants’ presence in the desert helps ensure the survival of other species that rely on their feeding habits, water-digging abilities and seed dispersal. They also generate revenue from tourism and create jobs for rural communities.
The population has decreased to fewer than 150 today however, mostly due to human-elephant conflicts (HEC) over water supplies, loss of habitat, and increasingly dry conditions. The group of elephants that Elephant-Human Relations Aid (EHRA) follow has had 100% calf mortality rate since 2015, and, in 2020, as a result of drought, moved out of their core range into greener but more human-dominated areas where many were illegally shot. This project will incorporate this larger area into its HEC mitigation programme including elephant- focused training/education, protecting human water sources, and understanding the elephants’ migration routes over 1.8m hectares. The ancient elephant migration routes will be protected by installing 3 wildlife water sources and ensuring access to required food and nutrients, and an Elephant Corridor Tourism project to increase the perceived value of elephants to farmers.