Elephant calf dies shortly after birth

Life is fragile in the Namib Desert, where a small group of elephants struggle to survive.

21 October 2020 | Environment

ERWIN LEUSCHNER

SWAKOPMUND

An elephant calf that was born in the Aba-Huab River sadly lost its life after three hours of struggling to survive in the midday sun.

After birth, the calf had tried valiantly to get up, but in the long run it died of exhaustion.

“Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do. This is the course of nature,” Christin Winter of the Elephant Human Relations Aid (EHRA) organisation said.

Winter observed the little elephant, saying he was perfect at birth.

“An elephant cow of the H1 herd in the Aba-Huab River gave birth to the calf in the midday heat under the blazing sun. The baby did not move for about an hour until he finally opened his eyes for the first time.

Fragile

“The calf was very fragile and its skin was quickly burned by the sun without any protection. So the mother covered it with sand,” Winter said.

The mother pushed the calf with her foot and he called for her. “He was getting stronger,” she said, but that in spite of him trying to get up several times, each time he fell down again. The older elephant calves finally arrived and stood guard until he died.

“We want to illustrate how difficult it is for elephants to survive in this harsh climate,” EHRA said.

According to the organisation, the newborn death rate in the Huab River is around 50 percent. In the Ugab River there have been no offspring in the past seven years.

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