THE MOBILE VETERINARY UNITS

| The Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit | The Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit | The Meru Mobile Veterinary Unit | DSWT Mobile Veterinary Project Summary | Sky Vets | Veterinarian Profiles |

The Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit

Area of Operation:
The Mobile veterinary unit covers both Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Park and the surrounding ranches and dispersal areas, also assisting with cases from Shimba Hills National Reserve and Amboseli National Park and the Chyulu Hills.


Team Description:
The Mobile veterinary team is headed by Jeremiah Poghon, recently taking over from Dr. David Ndeereh who worked tirelessly with the unit for six years.   David is now based out of Nairobi, KWS HQ, but still helps extensively with both our mobile veterinary units.  Dr. Poghon is assisted by Leserian Lekoko Lelerpei . The team since inception has been funded by Vier Pfoten.

Team Reports:

Latest Photos from the Field: (View a Gallery of all Mobile Vet Photos for this unit)

The baby waterbuck is rescuedThe dead rhino with horns missingThe snare wound after treatmentThe snare wound on the young elephant
The baby waterbuck is rescued
photo taken on 3/1/2014

The dead rhino with horns missing
photo taken on 3/1/2014

The snare wound after treatment
photo taken on 3/1/2014

The snare wound on the young elephant
photo taken on 3/1/2014


Latest Veterinary Report for The Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit: March 2014
(below are a few photos from the latest report)

The immobilized elephant  Examining the wound

Cleaning the wound  Preparing to administer the reversal drug

The dead rhino with horns missing  Starting the autopsy



The Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit

Area of Operation:
The Mara Mobile veterinary unit covers the Central Rift area, that includes the Maasai Mara, Lake Naivasha, Ruma National Park and Lake Nakuru National Park and the surrounding ranches and dispersal areas.


Team Description:
The Mobile veterinary team is headed by Dr. Dominic Mijele, and assisted by Felix Micheni . The team is funded by The Minara Trust

Team Reports:

Latest Photos from the Field: (View a Gallery of all Mobile Vet Photos for this unit)

Bullet wound in the heartElephant after collaringThe bull's carcassThe elephant back on her feet after treatment
Bullet wound in the heart
photo taken on 3/1/2014

Elephant after collaring
photo taken on 3/1/2014

The bull's carcass
photo taken on 3/1/2014

The elephant back on her feet after treatment
photo taken on 3/1/2014


Latest Veterinary Report for The Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit: March 2014
(below are a few photos from the latest report)

Elephant being collared  Putting the collar on

Securing the collar  Elephant after collaring

Rhino carcass  Examining the carcass



NEW The Meru Mobile Veterinary Unit

Area of Operation:
The Meru Mobile Veterinary Unit, which is funded and operated by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in partnership with the KWS, will be based out of Meru National Park and will provide permanent veterinary support to the larger Meru ecosystem comprising of Meru National Park, Bisanadi National Park and Kora National Reserve, including all wildlife dispersal areas around the Eastern Conservation Area, whilst also extending its services to additional parks and reserves in the Northern Conservation Area. The unit shall work closely with Dr Matthew Mutinda, who is based out of Lewa and runs the Laikipia Mobile Vet Unit, to ensure wildlife in the Samburu/Laikipia ecosystem is also provided with appropriate veterinary care.


Team Description:

The Meru veterinary team is headed by Kenya Wildlife Service Field Veterinary Officer Dr Bernard Rono, who has had many years of experience within the field and especially within northern Kenya. Dr Rono is ably assisted by two skilled KWS capture rangers and a driver, and the team is equipped with a customised 4x4 vehicle suitable for off-road driving, two darting systems that can be alternately used depending on terrain and other prevailing field conditions, all necessary assorted drugs and medical supplies as well as basic laboratory equipment that will enable prompt field diagnosis and treatment including assorted field and laboratory consumables.

The Meru Mobile Veterinary Unit is generously funded by Mr Companc.

Team Reports:

Latest Photos from the Field: (View a Gallery of all Mobile Vet Photos for this unit)

The wound was very deepThe horns had been removedSpear sticking out of the crocodileSetting a capture net above the crocodiles
The wound was very deep
photo taken on 3/1/2014

The horns had been removed
photo taken on 3/1/2014

Spear sticking out of the crocodile
photo taken on 3/1/2014

Setting a capture net above the crocodiles
photo taken on 3/1/2014


Latest Veterinary Report for The Meru Mobile Veterinary Unit: March 2014
(below are a few photos from the latest report)

The speared crocodile  Spear sticking out of the crocodile

Setting a capture net above the crocodiles  Treating the captured crocodile


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Meru Mobile Veterinary Unit Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) provides nationally veterinary services to wildlife in protected and dispersal areas. The long-term goal of the KWS’s Veterinary Department has been to decentralize services to critical Parks and regions where veterinary support is most needed. These areas embrace the greater Tsavo Conservation Area, the Central Rift and now the Meru ecosystem including the larger eastern and northern conservation areas.

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) sourced a grant from a European animal welfare NGO called VIER PFOTEN in support of this KWS Veterinary initiative, establishing a permanent veterinary presence to cover the Tsavo Conservation Area. Experienced KWS Vet, Dr. Poghon has been seconded for this project and this fully equipped mobile veterinary unit has now operated closely with both KWS and the Trust’s Desnaring Teams for over five years, facilitating rapid and effective response to animals in distress due to injury, sickness or having been orphaned. This unit also covers Tsavo West National Park and the surrounding ranches and dispersal areas, additionally assisting with cases from Shimba Hills National Reserve, Amboseli National Park and the Chyulu Hills National Park.

Thanks to a grant from the Minara Trust we have been able to place a second Mobile Veterinary Unit in the field covering the Central Rift. This unit is now in its third year of operation and is based in the Masai Mara, but is available to cover cases in the Lake Naivasha region, Lake Nakuru National Park and the surrounding areas. Currently headed by Dr Dominic Mijele and assisted by the DSWT’s Felix Micheni, the Mara unit is active in reducing human-elephant conflict whilst also focusing on disease surveillance.

The third full-time mobile veterinary unit, the Meru Mobile Veterinary Unit, was established I February 2013 within the larger Meru ecosystem in northern Kenya, providing permanent wildlife veterinary support to Meru National Park, Bisanadi National Park and Kora National Reserve, including all wildlife dispersal areas around the Eastern Conservation Area, whilst also extending its services to additional parks and reserves in the Northern Conservation Area. Privately and generously funded by Mr Companc, this unit is an exciting new project, offering much needed support to a vast ecosystem covering over 10,000 square km.

In all three vast areas there is an enormous diversity of animal species. They are surrounded mainly by pastoral communities with extensive agricultural activities taking place in some areas. However, irrigation farming is now becoming a thriving economic activity in certain areas and this has further escalated human-wildlife conflict, resulting in injury to wildlife species. Cases of animals with bullets, arrows and spears lodged in their bodies are reported on an almost daily basis. One of the fundamental objectives of these three projects is to alleviate suffering and distress in such animals by treating them promptly when they are sighted before infection sets in and the animals are lost. Previously, much time would be lost before a vet could be mobilized from Nairobi by which time wounded animals often could not be found, or were found already dead.

Subsistence hunting and snaring for the bush meat trade is also rampant in these areas. The most commonly used method is laying wire snares around waterholes and on animal trails. Despite enhanced security patrols by KWS to deter human incursions into the park coupled by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s organized anti-poaching initiatives, many animals are seen carrying wire snares. The Mobile Veterinary Units are fully equipped to alleviate the suffering of such animals without delays that have previously occurred.

Surveillance of diseases such as rinderpest in wild species is another aspect of the Mobile Veterinary Units’ work. In the late l800’s rinderpest caused extensive mortality in buffaloes, kudus, and giraffes and remains a threat, although many wild species have developed some immunity. The Mobile Veterinary Units can monitor any outbreaks and make appropriate containment recommendations. In addition, the project will investigate the source of disease outbreaks and institute appropriate control measures.

On occasions a mother is killed or dies from injury leaving a dependent calf. Another objective of this project is to rescue such abandoned and orphaned young for hand-rearing and ultimate rehabilitation back into the respective wild communities where they belong.

These veterinary projects will also aim to improve documentation and the dissemination of animal rescue operational reports in order to help further conservation awareness with a view to engendering a better understanding of wild animals and enhance awareness amongst Kenyans of the value of their priceless wild heritage.

Dr. Jeremiah Poghon

I was born in 1977 in West Pokot district of Rift Valley Province near the border with Uganda. I come from a pastoralist community who depend on livestock as their main source of livelihood. I started schooling at Nasokol primary school from 1984 to 1991 where I obtained my primary education certificate before proceeding to Chewoyet High School for my O levels from 1992 to 1995. I studied Bachelor of veterinary medicine at the University of Nairobi from 1997 to 2002 where I successfully graduated in October 2002.

I began my work as an intern veterinarian at Kenchic limited, a private company dealing with large scale breeding and sale of day old chicks, broilers and layers within the eastern Africa region. My responsibilities were vaccinations, advice to contract farmers, disease surveillance and quality supervision at every level of production. I later got employed by the Kenyan government Mounted unit of the Kenya Police based at Gilgil town, as a veterinary surgeon. My responsibilities included equine breeding, equine training, vaccinations, routine management and training of new riders, a task I did diligently until the year 2008when my passion to work with wildlife saw my entry into Kenya Wildlife Service, veterinary department.

At Kenya Wildlife Service the scenario was quite unique unlike previously where I was used to handling tame animals, my love for wildlife and the experience I obtained from police ensured that I was certified to handle all wildlife species on my own within a short period. I was moved to the Tsavo mobile veterinary unit in April 2010 after my colleague Dr David Ndeereh who started the unit was transferred to the Kenya Wildlife Service, veterinary department in charge of laboratory and field diagnostics. The unit funded by VIER PFOTEN through the David Sheldrick wildlife trust is critical in prompt response to wildlife cases which include injuries, snares, disease outbreak investigation and surveillance within Tsavo ecosystem, Amboseli, chyulu and the coast region. Wildlife work has many challenges but the feeling of saving this precious and dwindling heritage gives me a lot of satisfaction.

My hobbies are watching football, playing football, swimming, reading nature magazines and listening to music.

Dr. Campaign Kiprotich Limo

I was born in the year 1972 in Mugundoi village, Kaboi location Nandi County. I am the sixth born in a family of nine and I am a true family man. After schooling within Nandi County in western Kenya I proceeded to join the University of Nairobi to pursue a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine degree (BVM) in the year 1993 and graduated in the year 1998.

My passion all along was to become a veterinary doctor having grown up loving animals from pets to livestock. This guided me in choosing my career and to me this was a dream fulfilled. I had a short stint as a private veterinary practitioner upon my graduation before being employed by the Agricultural Development Corporation (ADC) where I was posted to the coastal region to oversee livestock activities. I was tasked with handling all livestock events in both Galana and Kulalu Ranches within the Tana Delta as well as providing veterinary services to livestock in the Kiswani complex in Malindi.

My passion for wildlife was nurtured during this period in the Tana Delta as I used to see injured animals especially elephants and I had a feeling of wanting to assist them. I used to pray that one day I would get an opportunity to be their helper. I was transferred to ADC Kitale region in 2009 to be Veterinary Officer in charge of clinical services, breeding, artificial insemination and embryo transfer programmes in livestock units in this region.

My dream to work with wildlife came true in 2010 when I was employed by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) as a Veterinary officer based at the KWS HQ in Nairobi. From here I would attend to veterinary clinical emergencies within Nairobi Orphanage, Nairobi Safari Walk, Nairobi National Park and any other cases from the field across the country.

I have since been seconded by the KWS to head one of the DSWT’s Mobile Veterinary Units based in the Masai Mara conservation area where up to now I am still based. This unit covers emergency cases within the Masai Mara ecosystem. I have the support of an able veterinary assistant and two rangers whom together we form a very good team to respond to any case in the field.

I enjoy every bit of my work and I feel a great privilege to realize my passion which revolves around alleviating the suffering of our wildlife. I always remain committed to the welfare of animals and strive to the best of my ability to give them comfort and relieve them from any form of suffering. My hobbies are listening to Country music, watching rugby, football and cricket. I also enjoy playing badminton.

Dr. Bernard Rono

My name is Bernard and I was born in August, 1980 in Kericho County in western Kenya. I studied for a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Nairobi graduating in October 2005. In 2006 I enrolled for a Master of Science degree at the same university and joined a research group at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) that aimed to develop and evaluate a vaccine for control of pneumonia in cattle. Part of the research was conducted in the Mara ecosystem where I first interacted with wildlife and developed an interest in wildlife health.

In January 2009 I was employed by the government department of veterinary services in arid northern Garissa County. Here I worked with communities to implement disease control programs for livestock mainly under the pastoral production system. My responsibilities included surveillance programs for diseases, which are important at the human/livestock/wildlife interphase, such as monitoring rinderpest and rift valley fever. In the course of my duties I networked with wildlife veterinarians and was inspired to join the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) in February 2010 as a veterinary officer.

At the KWS, I found a unique experience in wildlife veterinary practice. I had to quickly learn how to handle different species of wildlife, their behavior and demeanor and how to approach these animals. During the past three years I have had an opportunity to work with a diverse range of tropical wildlife species including elephants, rhinos, lions, giraffes and many others. My duties include rescue of orphaned wildlife, treatment of injured animals due mainly to human wildlife conflict or poaching, and translocations to manage wildlife populations in habitats. I also support research groups in wildlife health for disease outbreak investigation and surveillance whilst collecting wildlife samples for research.

Now having launched the Meru Mobile Veterinary Unit in February 2013, I have the exciting opportunity to work as the unit’s team leader and head field veterinary officer. The unit which is financed by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, with generous support from a private donor, provides wildlife veterinary interventions in the larger Meru National Park as well as wildlife dispersal areas in the eastern and northern conservation areas of Kenya. I derive great satisfaction in contributing to save wildlife species for our future generations and I am eager to make a difference to the wildlife of this area.

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