THE TSAVO MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
The month of June witnessed an increase in the number of cases attended by the unit especially of arrow wounds in elephants. This was occasioned by a dry spell being experienced in the Tsavo ecosystem that is forcing wildlife into inhabited areas which received fairly good rains. The movement of this wildlife has lead to increase in human-wildlife conflict and subsequent rise in injuries especially in elephants. Other cases of poaching attempts by use of poisoned arrows and gun shots are also on the rise and the unit only attended to a fraction of those animals that survive the terrible cruelty in the hands of humans.
Rescue of a snared male leopard at Lualenyi Ranch, 20th June.
The report was made to the unit by the local Somali herdsmen who most likely were angered after the snares killed two of their cattle. The team rushed in to find the agonizing leopard chained to a tree by a snare tied tightly around the right front foot.
Immobilization and release
The leopard was immobilized using 120 mgs of ketamine and 120mgs of xylazine.
There was marked salivation and another dart of 50 mgs of ketamine was added to attain proper anesthesia.
The wire on the right claws was cut loose and the leopard covered with an antibiotic and anti inflammatory drugs.
Autopsy on a lion carcass in Kitani area Tsavo West National Park, 22nd June.
The lion was spotted near the Kitani-chyulu road dead with a giraffe and another Eland carcass lay nearby. General examination of the carcass which was in advanced state of decomposition elicited evidence of penetrating wound that may have been the cause of death. There was a penetrating wound on the inguinal and the flank.
Cause of death: death due to hemorrhage and peritonitis.
Treatment of Loisaba, a female former elephant orphan in Tsavo East National Park, 25th June.
Loisaba is a former orphan raised in the Nairobi orphanage then finally transferred to Voi where she was released with another big group. She was seen looking very weak three months ago and was finally brought back to the Voi stockade for medical examination on 25th June 2011. Examination revealed respiratory distress where appropriate medication was administered.
Three days later on 28th June 2011 Loisaba was found dead in the morning at the stockade where supplemental feeding was being given.
Revealed an affected pre scapular lymph nodes and massively affected lungs (about 80%) were rendered functionless due to what looked like a tumor or a chronic tuberculosis infection.
Samples were taken and submitted to Nairobi for further confirmatory laboratory analysis.
Treatment of an elephant bull with an arrow wound and massive amounts of pus in Satao area of Tsavo East National Park, 25th June.
Satao camp is about 45 Kms from the park headquarters with a water hole that supplies a vast area where many elephants come to quench their thirst. This bull was sighted with a large pocket of pus on the left thigh moving towards Galana with 7 other huge elephant bulls. A sharp arrow (suspected poisoned) was retrieved from the wound.
Immobilization was by use of 20 mg of etorphine in a dan-inject system.
The pus was drained after the pocket of pus was excised on the lowest point and the pus squeezed out then washed with a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide and finally doused with betadine iodine.
Recsue treatment and release of a female leopard from Kuku Ranch near Tsavo West, 26th June.
Kuku Ranch currently Maasai community wildlife Trust is a community conservation initiative bordering Tsavo west national park with a big number of wildlife within community lands with large herds of cattle. It has also been a focal point of human-wildlife conflicts within Tsavo West National Park.
This was a case of a female leopard that had para-paresis of the hind limbs leaving her crippled and with no choice but to prey on livestock. She was finally captured and brought to Voi Vet Unit where it was treated and released back to the wild within Tsavo East National Park. A previous case of a lion with the same signs recovered.
Collaring of Two lionesses within Kuku Ranch, 27th -29th June 2011
Lions are among the ever dwindling species of wildlife due to a decrease in prey numbers that forces them to prey on livestock making them clash with the community. Being nocturnal and difficult to monitor, collaring was put in place to improve follow up and understand their movement patterns.
She is a female lioness previously collared three years ago with a VHF collar.She was darted after being lured by wildebeest calf in distress sounds in Noopuli area of Kuku ranch using 300 mgs Ketamine and 300 mgs xylazine at 08:51 pm.
She went down at 09:03 pm. An old collar was removed and a new one put in place then an open wound was sutured near the left knee joint and antibiotic administered. She appeared pregnant. Revival was finally done at 09:45 pm.
She is an old lady of Kuku with an estimated age of 12 years and still going strong. She appeared elusive until the morning of 29th when she was finally traced in Chyulu hills. Like Singila, wildebeest calf in distress calls was used to lure her. Her 3 one year old cubs lay nearby.
She was darted at 07:5 am using 300 mg of Ketamine and 300 mgs xylazine and later topped up by 50 mgs of ketamine.
The old collar was removed and a new one put in place. Antibiotic cover was given.
Other activities undertaken
The unit also carried out a survey on intestinal parasites in the Kenya Wildlife Service security dogs stationed at Moi international airport in Mombasa where fecal samples were taken to the laboratory to test the presence of parasitic eggs.
The tests on the two dogs returned a negative for parasitic eggs meaning the parasites have not developed resistance to the current dewormers.
The unit also inspected a dead giraffe near Tsavo east park headquarters and two honey baggers ran over by a vehicle between Voi and The Park headquarters.
The unit appreciates the great support from its sponsors ViER PFOTEN through The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for providing funds that are critical in running the unit. The unit also is grateful to the Director Kenya Wildlife Service through the Head of Veterinary and capture services for their assistance.
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust P.O. Box 15555 Nairobi Kenya