THE TSAVO MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
REPORT FOR - August 2013

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Introduction

The month of August witnessed a rapid increase in cases of elephant injuries caused by arrow wounds. Hotspots for poachers included the areas of Satao, Ithumba and the Taita Sisal Estate ranches. The unit managed to treat most of the cases and when overwhelmed they called for assistance from the vet department in Nairobi, where the DSWT’s Sky Vets initiative came into action and deployed KWS vets immediately to the case.  Due to the many cases handled by the unit, this month’s report will assume a tabular brief.

Rescue and Treatment of a young female rhino calf, Tsavo East, 8th August

Having rescued an injured rhino calf which had been mauled by lions, the unit tried to treat her extensive wounds at the Voi stockades, yet sadly she succumbed to her injuries.  An autopsy was done on the female rhino calf revealing extensive muscle tears and bone splintering around the neck, right elbow and pelvis.

the orphaned rhino

Elephant calf rescue, Mudanda Rock Tsavo East, 3rd August

An elephant calf was rescued from alongMasobo River near Mudanda Rock inTsavo East. The lone elephant calf aged approx18 months old was taken to the DSWT stockades in Voifor further care but was in good health.

Capturing the calf  securing the calf for the journey

Elephant calf rescue, Mbirikani, Sagala Ranch, August 4th

Another elephant calf was rescued from the Mbirikani area in Tsavo East. The calf was being attacked by community members. The calf had a nervous problem of one blind eye and circling around and despite several treatments he died shortly after his rescue.

preparing to do the autopsy

Treatment of a Sub-Adult Elephant bull –Tsavo Camp, TsavoEast, 8th August

A young elephant bull was treated for an arrow wound on the left shoulder blade along the Galana River near Tsavo Safari Camp. The arrow head was removed and the wounds were cleaned and antibiotics administered. Prognosis is guarded.

Cleaning the wound  Removing the arrow

The arrow head

Treatment of a young elephant bull, Taita Sisal Estate, Mwatate, 12th August

A young elephant bull was treated for a bullet wound to the right hind limb near the fetlock joint. The bullet wound went straight through the joint. 

The bullet was removed and all necessary antibiotics were administered. Prognosis is guarded.

The wound after it is cleaned and disinfected  The wound is packed with green clay

The elephant on its feet after treatment

Treatment of a young wild elephant bull (known as PembeMoja),Ithumba, Tsavo East, 10th August

A young wild elephant bull that had teamed up with former orphans at the Ithumba Stockades was treated for an arrow wound on the right thigh in the Ithumba area of Northern Tsavo east.

Prognosis is good.

cleaning the wound  Disinfecting the arrow wound

Arrow wound treatment of a bull elephant, IthumbaTsavoEast, 10th August

A huge wild elephant bull was treated for an arrow wound near the left knee in theIthumba area of Northern Tsavo East. Large amounts of pus and necrotic flesh were removed leaving a gaping hole on the leg.  Full treatment was given before antibiotics were administered and the wound was packed with green clay.

 Prognosis is guarded.

The immobilized elephant before treatment

Treatment of an Ex-Orphan Elephant cow (Galana)ItumbaTsavo East, 13th August

A young female ex- orphan (Galana) was treated for an abdominal arrow wound atIthumba. The deep arrow head was retrieved and the wounds cleaned and disinfected before antibiotics were administered.

Prognosis is good.

The arrow is removed from Galana  cleaning the wound

The wound is filled with green clay

Treatment of Ex-Orphan Elephant cow (Mulika), IthumbaTsavo East. 13th August

Another ex-orphan (Mulika) was given a repeat treatment after her initial treatment at the Ithumba Stockades for an arrow wound on the left rib cage.

Large amounts of pus and flesh were cleaned and antibiotics and green clay applied. Prognosis is good.

Keeping Mulika cool, the arrow wound clearly visible  Necrotic tissue removed from the wound

Treatment of a wild Elephant bull (known as Mshale), Ithumba, Tsavo East, 13th August

A huge elephant bull christened Mshaleby the Ithumba Elephant Keepers and staff, who has suffered from previous arrow attacks was treated for another abdominal arrow wound in the Ithumba area of northern Tsavo East. Old wounds were also treated. Prognosis is good.

Disifecting the terrible wound

Treatment of a wild Elephant bull, Satao, Tsavo East, 14th August

A big elephant bull was treated near Satao area of Tsavo East for arrow wound near the rear limb. The wounds were cleaned and green clay applied. Prognosis is good.

The immobilized bull during treatment  Probing the wound for foreign objects

The wound was heavily infected

Treatment of a wild Elephant bull, Satao, Tsavo East, 14th August

A big tusker bull was treated for an arrow wound on the right abdominal flank near Satao Camp, Tsavo East. An arrow head was retrieved and large amounts of pus was drained by making an incision on the lowest point. Large chunks of necrotic flesh were also cut off before antibiotics and green clay was administered.

Prognosis is guarded.

Pus was pouring from the heavily infected wound  The arrow that was removed from the heavily infected wound

The wound after it is cleaned and disinfected

Treatment of an Elephant bull in the Satao/ Kulalu area of Tsavo East, 14th August

An elephant bull was treated for two arrow wounds between Satao and Kulalu Hills in Tsavo east. The wounds on both sides of the body were treated and covered with green clay.

Prognosis is good.

The immobilized bull with the injury clearly visible   The wound is cleaned

The wound after treatment

Treatment of a young elephant bull- Galana River, Tsavo East,  16th August

This elephant was treated for a bullet wound on the left hind leg. The wound was deep and some broken bone could be felt. The wound was washed and antibiotics applied. A final cover of green clay was applied. Prognosis is guarded.

The immobilized bull before treatment  The wound after initial examination

During treatment

Treatment of an Elephant Bull- Amboseli National Park, 17th  August

This bull was treated for multiple spear wounds around the hind leg, perineal area and the abdominal area. The spear wounds were washed disinfected and iodine was applied. A cover of clay was also used to cover the wound whilst antibiotics were administered.

Cleaning the spear wound  Disinfecting the spear

The immobilized bull after treatment

Treatment of a female Impala, Voi safari lodge,Tsavo East, 21st August

A snare was removed from a waist of an impala female after being immobilized. Wounds were cleaned and antibiotics administered.

The snare that was removed from the Impala  The snare wounds are treated

The snared impala

Treatment of an Elephant bull, Ngutuni Sanctuary, Tsavo East, 21st  August

An elephant bull was treated for an arrow wound on the rump in Ngutuni sanctuary. The arrow head was pulled out, septic wounds cleaned and antibiotics administered as well as green clay.

Prognosis is good.

The immobilized bull with an arrow wound on the rump  Removing the arrow from the wound

The wound is cleaned and packed with green clay

Treatment of an Elephant, Rukinga Ranch, 23rd August

Attempts were made to wake up a recumbent elephant bull near 60 Camp in Rukinga Ranch but was not successful. The elephant succumbed some hours later. It appeared thin with no external injuries. Cause of death- Malnutrition.

Pouring water on the elephant to cool it down  The recumbent bull

Treatment of an Elephant bull, Kiongwe in Mpeketoni, Lamu, 25th  August

An elephant bull was attended to in Kiongwe area of Mpeketoni division in Lamu County which was suffering from a bullet and an arrow wound on the left front leg. The bullet had shattered the joint making healing impossible. He was euthanized and autopsy carried out that confirmed the diagnosis.

The injured bull  Conducting the autopsy

Galana River fish deaths, Tsavo east, 27th  August

Water in the Galana River began to turn greenish and fish deaths were observed. A team visited the river and took samples of water and dead fish for laboratory diagnosis. Results are being awaited.

Dead fish  The galana river

Rescue of an Elephant calf, along the pipeline, Tsavo East, 28th August

A 6 month old elephant calf (named Matope) was rescued from the pipeline area of Tsavo East and airlifted to the DSWT orphanage in Nairobi where sadly Matope died soon after arrival.

The lone calf  The calf is captured and imobilized

Treatment of an Elephant bull in Galana Ranch, Tsavo East, 29th August

A big elephant bull was treated for an arrow wound of the right hind limb in Crocodile Camp on Galana Ranch, off Sala Gate. An arrow head was retrieved and wounds treated before antibiotics were administered and green clay was applied. Prognosis is good.

The injured big tusker  Removing all infection from the wound

Removing all the necrotic tissue

Treatment of a female elephant, ArabukoSokoke Forest, 18th August

The elephant that was reported to be injured was found to be immobile when the unit arrived on the scene. It had sadly collapsed and died before the vet team could treat it.  An autopsy revealed pus in the abdominal muscles beneath the skin. Cause of death was septicemia due to an old arrow injury.

The elephant had sadly died

Conclusion & Acknowledgement

The unit will continue to respond promptly on cases reported within the region which are expected to be on the increase as the dry season sets in. It’s our hope that the rains will fall down early this year and bring in the much needed forage and water for the now thirsty wildlife.  The unit would like to thank its sponsors ViER PFOTEN through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) for their continued support to the unit and wildlife veterinary services in Kenya.

We also will like to give appreciation to the staff of the Kenya Wildlife Service in Tsavo, Coast and Southern Conservation Areas for their prompt reporting of animals in need of veterinary assistance. Finally our gratitude gos to the head of Veterinary services at the KWS headquarters for sending additional vets at times of heavy case load through the Sky Vets initiative.

Report by: Dr Jeremiah Poghon

 

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