Tsavo Conservation Area Veterinary Field Report – April 2014
Reported by Dr Jeremiah Poghon
The Tsavo region continued to receive some rains throughout the month of April which has kept the ecosystem lush green with plenty of water and forage. The case load was low compared to previous months of the year. The rains are expected to subside in the coming months paving way for drying up of temporary water holes and diminished forage. Some of the cases handled in the month included an elephant in Chyulu area that had to be euthanized. Another case in Ithumba was treated for multiple arrow shots on the body and also succumbed a few days later. The Sky Vet Team also did a great job while the unit was away on off duty.
Interventions carried our during the month are as follows
CASE #1 IMMOBILISATION AND EUTHANASIA OF A FEMALE ELEPHANT
Date: 11 April 2014
Age: Sub Adult
Location: Chyulu National Park
A young elephant cow was reported to appear sickly and was seen moving slowly and in pain. As the report came late in the evening the Vet Team was unable to travel until the following day. The young elephant cow was found already recumbent and struggling to get up. She was assisted to get up and after close monitoring the elephant was darted with 15 mgs of Etorphine in a Dan Inject Dart System.
Close examination revealed very poor body condition, scale of 2/5, signs of straining to defecate due to serious abdominal pain and emaciation.
After thorough analysis it was deemed appropriate to euthanize her due to lack of external obvious injury and the possibility of poaching by the neighboring community.
After euthanasia, autopsy revealed massive suppurative nephritis that had spread along the vertebral column. The massive pockets of pus could rapture internally leading to severe fatal peritonitis.
CASE #2: TREATMENT OF A MALE ELEPHANT
Date: 19 April 2014
Location: Ithumba, Tsavo East
The elephant was spotted near the Ithumba-Kasala road walking with a lot of difficulty and with numerous arrows heads protruding from his body. The vet team was rushed in by air and easily found the heavily injured elephant hobbling about.
Immobilization and treatment:
Immobilization was done using 18 mgs of Etorphine and the elephant easily went down in a few minutes. Several arrows were removed from the right side of the body, wounds cleaned with hydrogen peroxide, doused with tincture of Iodine and covered with green clay. A tractor was used to flip him over so that the injuries on the left side could be accessed. The same procedure was also done on the left side.
A large wound with pus near the left elbow joint was opened up, cleaned with water mixed in hydrogen peroxide, doused with tincture of Iodine, sprayed with Oxytetracycline Spray and finally covered in green clay. Long acting antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs were administered.
- Lion collaring of exercise of which three lions were to be collared was attempted in Kuku ranch near Chyulu hills in vain. The exercise was undertaken at night as the lions were very shy and could not come near the darting vehicle despite broadcasting of animal in distress calls.
- Elephant Tuberculosis Serological Survey is ongoing of which 9 elephants have so far been tested with all have returning negative results.
The unit acknowledges the vital role of its sponsors VIER PFOTEN through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) for their continued support to the unit. We also thank the Kenya Wildlife Service management in Tsavo and Nairobi for their contribution to the unit.