THE TSAVO MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
REPORT FOR - July 2011

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Introduction The failure of the May-July long rains in Tsavo has ushered in a dry spell in the region that paints a gloomy picture in terms of wildlife injuries as a whole. Cases of injuries and deaths from human activity seem to pick up gradually as the region dries up. Cases handled in the month were mostly caused by arrow shots, snares and other unknown injuries. Treatment of an elephant bull shot by an arrow at Ol donyo wuas area of Chyulu Hills 1st July 2011. The elephant was spotted among the male population that resides within Ol donyo wuas area with an arrow head lodged on its right thigh and the wound oozing a lot of pus. With the assistance of the Ol donyo wuas airplane the vet was airlifted to the location. The elephant was easily spotted among a group of male at the drinking hole. Darting was done using 20 mgs of etorphine Hcl in a dan inject darting system. The wounded area was enlarged and an arrow head pulled out after some struggle after which the wound was cleaned with a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide then finally doused with iodine. Revival and prognosis It was revived using diprenorphine at three times the etorphine dose administered through the ear vein. Prognosis is very good. Rescue of an Elephant Orphan in Kedong are of Tsavo west Park, 7th July 2011. Kedong area is community farmlands adjacent to Tsavo West National Park where the prevailing drought has forced many elephants to move to greener areas occupied by the community. The calf was chasing caretakers around and had to be sedated then transferred to Voi stockades before Airlifted the next day to Nairobi orphanage.

The anesthetized orphan  Treating the orphan

Loading the calf into the back of the vehicle  The calf in the back of the vehicle for transport to the Voi stockades

Treatment of a lame elephant bull in Kasigau area of Tsavo W. National Park, 15th July The lame elephant which is suspected to have sustained a sprain on the left leg hind leg with a suspected fusing of the left knee joint. The elephant had difficulty in movement and stayed near a water hole. Darting was done using 20 mgs of etorphine alone. Examination revealed Sprain on the joint with subsequent disorganized healing. No open wound was seen. Anti inflammatory drugs and antibiotics were administered. The elephant had to be assisted onto its feet after he was unable to stand on its own.

The lame bull  Darting the bull

Examining the bull  The bull back on its feet

Collaring of a lioness with GPS satellite collar at Amboseli National Park, 17th July. Constant conflict between lions and the surrounding community has forced wildlife managers to intervene in order to mitigate further clashes. One of the strategies was to collar the lions, a male and a female in each pride with internet transmitting GPS collar that uses the local GSM network. This will enable data on the lions movements to be analyzed. The vet unit was called in assist in immobilization and care of the candidates. Two lionesses were earmarked for the exercise but only one was found. Darting was by use of Ketamine and Xylazine at a ratio of 300 mgs each, a further top up of 50 mgs Ketamine was added.

The Tsavo mobile vet unit vehicle  The immobilized lioness

Treating the lioness before reviving her

Desnaring of a zebra in Manyani field training camp in Tsavo West, 22nd July. Several cases of injured/snared cases of zebras are on the increase in manyani area of Tsavo West National Park. The zebra was snared around the hind leg and also injured by a suspected lion attack. It was immobilized by use of 7mgs etorphine and 60 mgs xylazine. The snare was removed and the wounds cleaned with antiseptics then given an antibiotic cover.

The snare around the zebra's hind leg  The snare wound after it is cleaned and treated

Treating the zebra for its other wounds  The zebra back on its feet

Prognosis Good, full recovery is expected. Other cases The unit euthanized a blind eland calf after examination revealed complete blindness due to developmental anomaly of the eyeballs. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The unit would like to thank all its sponsors especially The David Sheldricks Wildlife Trust and VIER PFOTEN for their continued support and not forgetting The Kenya Wildlife Service. The Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit operated by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust working with The Kenyan Wildlife Service and funded by Vier Pfoten.

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