Desert Elephants in Namibia – An Unfortunate Snare Incident

Desert Elephants in Namibia – An Unfortunate Snare Incident

Posted by Georgia Wilson on 19th Mar 2021

Desert elephants not only face the reality of a harsh living environment which in itself brings the herds daily struggles, but they have for many years now come into conflict with humans as they vie for the same land and water resources. Human encroachment has, unfortunately, had indirect consequences also, a recent incident highlighted an important issue that concerns not only elephants but all wildlife in the region - the increasing problem of snare use in Namibia.

Last week, the Desert Elephants in Namibia team received a worrying call from a concerned tourist. A baby elephant had been spotted with a snare wire tightly wrapped around its trunk, the photographs showed that the calf was significantly injured as a result. A collaborative effort was made by the project team and desert elephant researchers Dr R. Ramey and Dr L. MacAlister Brown, to locate this particular herd and find out if the calf was still alive.

Sad Snaring Incident of Baby Elephant
(Photo credit: Fabien Kaderk)

The team left on Monday morning travelling to the Palmwag region and reported back late Tuesday that they had located the family of the elephants, the calf was alive and doing well considering the situation. The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) did not hesitate to send esteemed veterinarian Dr Axel Hartmann to assess the calf, the MEFT were prepared to send whatever resource necessary to help the herd including a helicopter.

After close observation and careful consideration, Dr Hartmann determined that the injury had healed and that in time, the rest of the trunk will naturally fall off. As the calf seemed well and used to the disability already, collectively it was decided that intervention would cause unnecessary stress and trauma on the herd. In extreme instances, human involvement may cause the herd to abandon the baby. The Desert Elephants in Namibia team will continue to monitor the family and the baby elephant, reporting on how the calf copes and adapts to life with this disability.

Snare Incident Resulting in Baby Elephant Injury
(Photo credit: Fabien Kaderk)

Whilst trunks are an essential body part, many elephants learn to survive and adapt to life with trunk injuries. Smelling should not be impaired and drinking will only be slightly less effective than usual, the issues that may arise for injured elephants of this kind may be the stripping of tree bark or picking up small food items. Though, known for their bonded family units, elephants are known to help weaker or injured members of the herd. The project team knew a confident bull elephant with a similar trunk injury that thrived in the wild which breeds hope that this small calf will go on to lead a relatively normal life.

Snare traps are usually used to procure bush meat which already puts pressure on predator’s food sources, as well as becoming an increasing threat to many vulnerable and endangered animals. African bush elephant populations are decreasing every day and the desert elephants in Namibia are already minimal in numbers, even though they form an essential part of a balanced desert ecosystem. They are known to dig for water which is then available to other animals and during the short rainy season, they are said to help along with seed dispersal as their deep footprints provide an ideal environment for seedlings to grow.

This unfortunate and unnecessary snare incident has had a relatively lucky outcome but for many animals, snare traps are a death sentence and threaten already delicately balanced ecosystems. This saddening event has further highlighted the increasing issue of snare use which needs to be addressed, alongside the growing demand for African bushmeat.


Share this Article...

Share this article with your friends and followers by using the social media buttons below.


Leave a Comment...

Wanting to add something to this story or just let us know your thoughts? Just leave your comments below. Please be aware that all comments will be moderated: abusive behaviour or self-promotion will not be allowed.

500 characters remaining

Has this blog inspired you to volunteer? If so, why not enquire today? Simply fill out an enquiry form, and allow a member of our travel team to assist with your query! Please note that blog comments are not monitored by the travel team, so any questions related to bookings may be missed.


Featured Blog Arcticles


Featured Videos


Discover all that is involved in volunteering on The Great White Shark Project in South Africa.

Volunteers talk about their recent experience at the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Sanctuary in Borneo.

See what you could get up to as a volunteer at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary!

Latest Blog Arcticles


3 Baby Orangutans Rescued Already in 2021

3 Baby Orangutans Rescued Already in 2021

The Borneo Orangutan Survival have been exceptionally busy...

Desert Elephants in Namibia – An Unfortunate Snare Incident

Desert Elephants in Namibia – An Unfortunate Snare Incident

The Desert Elephants in Namibia team had an alarming call...

Meet The Founder Of The Sloth Conservation And Wildlife Experience

Meet The Founder Of The Sloth Conservation And Wildlife Experience

Meet the founder of the Sloth Conservation and Wildlife...

Lydia’s Costa Rica Turtle Conservation Experience!

Lydia’s Costa Rica Turtle Conservation Experience!

Volunteer Lydia managed to tick off a bucket list...

The First Orangutan Release Of 2021 - 10 Orangutans Back In The Wild!

The First Orangutan Release Of 2021 - 10 Orangutans Back In The Wild!

After a long year of being unable to release orangutans due...

Mowgli's New Home at the Born Free Big Cat Sanctuary!

Mowgli's New Home at the Born Free Big Cat Sanctuary!

Mowgli is a black panther who was rescued last year by the...

Thandi and Family – New Baby Rhino at Kariega!

Thandi and Family – New Baby Rhino at Kariega!

Famous Thandi overcame a horrific ordeal and her strength...

World Animal Day 2020

World Animal Day 2020

World Animal Day is celebrated on October 4th of every year...


Where you can go
Contact Info
UK Office
The Great Traveller Ltd,
3 Dairy Yard
Star Street
Ware, Hertfordshire
SG12 7DX
United Kingdom

Opening hours:
   Mon-Fri 8:30am–5:30pm
   Sat 10am-4pm

T: +44(0) 208 885 4987

Foreign Office Travel Advice