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Christmas elephant settles in

Christmas elephant settles in

Niël Terblanché

THE Swakop River below the Rossmund golf estate and the golf course has become the new home to the young elephant bull that travelled on foot from the Omaruru River to the coast a week ago.


Since his second arrival at the coast and while under the watchful eye of officials from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism the elephant has started to settle into his new home.


Residents of the golf estate has welcomed the animal in their midst but is very cautious because the elephant has taken to moving onto the golf course in the late afternoon to get a drink of water.


According to Doctor Gert Cloete from the management of the Rossmund Golf Course the novelty of the elephant has drawn large numbers of people who drive up and down the river bed to get a glimpse of the animal.


Video: The Christmas elephant has taken a liking to the fairway to the eighth hole on the Rossmund Golf Course where he walks everyday to get to the water reservoirs for a drink of water. – Footage: Courtesy of the Rossmund Golf Course and Christo Botha


“People are even circling above the golf course in all kinds of aircraft to get a chance to see the elephant and this might lead to a conflict situation that will end badly for people as well as the animal,” he said.


Dr. Cloete said the elephant has started to work out a routine where he come on to the golf course late in the afternoon to drink water from the reservoirs used to irrigate the fairways and greens. He said that during the day the elephant keeps to the bushes in the river and is hardly ever seen.


“Our worry is obviously that a golfer might walk into the elephant one day and that it might lead to trouble. It should not be forgotten that the elephant is a wild animal which is unpredictable at best.”


He said that the residents of the golf estate are repeatedly warned to not walk their dogs in the late afternoon because that is the time that the elephant seems to want to take a drink of water from the reservoirs on the golf course.


“At the moment the elephant is a novelty and it draws a lot of people but we don’t know what the future holds. It is alone and it might become agitated and unmanageable at some stage.”


Dr. Cloete said it would be best of the elephant bull finds its way back to the interior where it can be in its natural habitat and amongst other elephants.
The young elephant bull caused a stir at the coast on Christmas Eve when it came to Swakopmund the first time. A week ago farmers on the small holdings in the Swakop River noticed his tracks on their properties.


Officials from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism rounded the animal up in the desert behind the dune belt between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay and shepherded him back to the Swakop River where he has been staying ever since.


Besides golf enthusiasts the Rossmund Golf Course is also home to quite few springbucks and other wild animal species.

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