Treatment of a giraffe with an arrow stuck on the right abdomen in Mara Conservancy, Masai Mara. This was a sub-adult female giraffe that had been sighted with a along metallic spear sticking on its right abdomen. The spear had pierced through the abdomen causing a lot of traumatic injuries to the abdominal organs. It had stayed in this condition for about 3 days before it was sighted. The animal was sighted by the Mara Conservancy rangers while on their regular patrol and reported the case to Mara veterinary unit for attention. It required an urgent veterinary attention to save it from the pain and injury caused by the spear. Chemical immobilization and restrain The giraffe was darted from a vehicle using 10mgs of etorphine hydrochloride combined with 30mgs of Xylazine hydrochloride. It took about 5 minutes to get narcotized and was then roped down manually. The spear was pulled out from the abdomen, the spear was smooth and slendor with no hook therefore it did not cause extensive injuries to the abdomen. The wound was drained, cleaned and treated with long-acting antibiotics, the giraffe was still strong and in a very good body condition. Blood samples were obtained from the jugular vein that will be analyzed for health monitoring purposes. Anaesthesia revival After removal of the long spear, the animal was revived from anaesthesia using 36mgs of diprenorphine hydrochloride combined with 10mgs of atipamezole hydrochloride administered through the jugular vein. It rose up after about 2 minutes and joined the rest of the herd nearby after a successful treatment. Prognosis was good after removing the spear and treating the wound.
Collaring of elephants in Masai Mara We captured and replaced a GPS collar of one of the male elephants (named Heritage,) that had previously been collared in Masai Mara. Its collar had failed to transmit GPS locations online due to expiry of battery and this made it difficult to track its movements in Mara. The same elephant was also treated for a long standing wound that was last attended to in June last year, however, the wound had regressed and the healing process was better. Another adult male elephant which was frequently involved in human-elephant conflict was also immobilized and fitted with a new collar in the same area. The other elephant was captured by darting from a helicopter and its collar removed after it caused an abrasive wound on the dorsal part of the neck. The wound was then treated and the elephant released. The main objectives of elephant collaring in Masai Mara is to enhance daily monitoring of elephant populations in the entire Masai Mara ecosystem in order to map out the elephant movement corridors and to reduce incidences of human-elephant conflict (HEC). The collars were designed to use satellite network and send GPS locations of elephants at an interval of 4 hours everyday for the next 5 years. Revival of anaesthesia After fitting the collar, the elephants were revived from anaesthesia using 48mgs of diprenorphine hydrochloride administered through the superficial ear-vein, the collaring exercise was quite successful and the elephant joined the rest of elephant herds without any complications. We are now able to track and get the GPS locations of the elephant daily. The elephant monitoring in Mara by use of GPS collars is done jointly by KWS, Mara North conservancy, Save The Elephants and David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
Sampling of common zebras (Equus burchellis) for theileriosis study in Masai Mara This is a study that seeks to explore the role of zebras as reservoirs and transmission agents of Theileria species to other wildlife and livestock. A total of 23 common zebras were captured by darting from different herds well distributed across the Mara ecosystem. All the zebras were immobilized using a combination of etorphine and xylazine. After samples collection, the zebras were revived using a combination of diprenorphine and atipamezole administered through the jugular vein. Whole blood samples were collected in EDTA tubes, blood for serum was collected in plain tubes, tissue samples cut from the ear, hair samples also collected from tail switch. The samples will be subjected to molecular analysis to detect the presence of various Theileria species in free ranging zebras.
Treatment of an elephant with traumatic injury in Naiboshio conservancy This was a case of a 15 year old male elephant in Naiboshio conservancy that had an extensive injury on the left front leg, the entire leg was heavily swollen and the elephant could not put weight on the affected leg, it exhibited carrying lameness. It was suspected to have developed arthritis after being hit by a sharp object. It had been treated for the injury 4 times without any recovery even though it had good appetite and drinking water appropriately. However, it later developed septiceamia and died due to heavy infection and swelling of the affected leg. A detailed postmortem examination revealed a complete fracture of the tibia bone at the stifle (knee joint). The fracture would not have been detected without an x-ray examination.
Treatment of an injured lionness in Maasai Mara NR This was a case of lioness that got injured while hunting, the right part of the abdomen was stabbed by the horns of the prey and the liver popped out of the abdomen. The lioness was sighted 2 days after the injury and there was a lot of haemorrhage and the liver became necrotic. We intervened and replaced the liver back into the abdomen and sutured the wound. Anaesthesia and treatment Anaesthesia was achieved by use of 400mgs ketamine and 400mgs xylazine. After assessing the extent of the injury, it was discovered that the intestines were intact, the liver was torn at the base causing extensive haemorrhage from the hepatic vein. The area around the injury was shaved, cleaned and disinfected. The opening into the abdomen was enlarged and accumulated blood clots removed from the abdomen. The opening was extended to allow better assessment of the injury and ease of manipulation while returning the liver back to the abdomen. The liver was then cleaned by saline and antibiotic ointment applied on the surface to minimize infection, the entire surface of the liver had become necrotic but the parenchyma was still alive and the liver still had chances of regeneration. The liver was then replaced back into the abdomen. After replacing back the liver, the peritoneum was closed using number -2 chromic-catgut suture using simple interrupted pattern, overlying muscles were similarly closed with same material with the subcutis. Skin was also closed with number 3 chromic-catgut which will be absorbed to avoid re-immobilization of the lioness to remove the sutures. Opticlox (cloxacillin) ointment was infused into the suture lines and antibiotic spray put on skin. The lionness was also covered with 8000mgs of amoxicillin and given 20mgs dexamethasone antinflammatory all given intramuscularly. Xylazine reversal was done after one hour by use of 50mgs atipamezole (antisedan).
The lionness took so long to wake up probably due to poor metabolism of anaesthetics from the system. The prognosis of recovery was guarded due to anaemia, liver necrosis and poor functioning of the liver. The lionness died from anaemia after two days after treatment. Acknowledgements Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) acknowledges the continous support of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust towards provision of wildlife veterinary services in Masai Mara ecosystem this has significantly contributed to the general wildlife health and conservation in the Mara ecosystem. We also acknowledge the support of the KWS rangers and staff from Masai Mara National Reserve, Mara North conservancy, Naiboshio conservancy, Mara Conservancy and the surrounding community-owned wildlife conservancies for continuous support and reporting of wildlife incidences requiring veterinary intervention in the Mara ecosystem. Report by: Dr. Domnic Mijele