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Animal Welfare at Harnas Guest Farm and Wildlife Sanctuary

How animals join the Harnas family

Mahatma Gandhi said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

And at Harnas we live by these words.

Wildlife finds its way to Harnas in four main ways: 

  • Injured animals

  • Orphaned animals

  • Animals that come into conflict with humans

  • Animals that were raised as pets, and subsequently need an alternative home.



Some animals can be rehabilitated and released back into the wilds of Namibia. At Harnas we have a structured process of rehabilitation and, when determining if an animal can be released back into the wild, one has to consider the following factors:

  • Is the animal anatomically and physiologically adapted for the wild?

  • Is the animal disease-free and not pose a risk to the wild population if released back into the wild?

  • What is the conflict potential with humans after rehabilitation back into the wild?

  • Is the animal habituated to humans?

  • Does the animal know its natural enemies when released back into the wild or is it predator naïve?

In those instances when an animal cannot be rehabilitated and released back into the wild, it finds a forever home at the Harnas Wildlife Sanctuary - this home made as natural as possible, mimicking that of its wild counterparts. 

Five Freedoms

We strive to give our animals the 'Five Freedoms' that are globally recognised as the gold standard in animal welfare. These five freedoms encompass both the mental and physical well-being of animals and include:  

  • freedom from hunger and thirst 

  • freedom from discomfort

  • freedom from pain, injury, and disease 

  • freedom to express normal and natural behavior

  • freedom from fear and distress.

Each and every animal counting on the Harnas Wildlife Sanctuary for its future can rest in the knowledge that its five freedoms will be wholly adhered to, with the innate compassion of the Harnas team complementing the cycle of care. 

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The laws of our animals

Over the years the ethos of animal welfare has evolved. Sadly, in Namibia laws surrounding the welfare of animals have not kept abreast of change. At Harnas we strive to bring about the change so crucial to the future well-being of all of Namibia's animals. 

And at Harnas we are continually evolving too. The start of the sanctuary saw animals rescued and cared for - hands-on attention not limited to caretaker or sanctuary employee. 

As time passed, it became clear that unnecessary contact poses a threat to animals and increases the risks of zoonosis. Zoonosis tragically sees viruses transmitted between human and animal, these infections often proving fatal to the wildlife concerned. 

For this reason, we do not encourage close contact with sanctuary wildlife. Furthermore, the taking of 'selfies' with wild animals is also prohibited - this in line with the ethical standpoint upheld at Harnas. 

Contact with captive large carnivores is forbidden by law in Namibia - a law respected by the Harnas Wildlife Sanctuary. 

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