THE MERU MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
REPORT FOR - June 2015

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EASTERN CONSERVATION AREA VETERINARY UNIT MONTHLY REPORT JUNE 2015

Report by: Bernard Rono

Summary

This report describes the activities of the Meru veterinary unit in the Eastern Conservation Area, in June 2015.

Snares set by poachers cause debilitating injuries or mortality in wildlife. In the month under review the unit removed snares in a lion and an elephant calf and treated secondary wounds to relieve the suffering of the affected animals. Another elephant calf in Rumuruti which sustained injuries from a snare was rescued and relocated to DSWT orphanage in Nairobi after it was abandoned by the rest of the herd.

A white rhino was treated for cutaneous wounds caused by filariae whereas an elephant in Meru National Park was treated for injuries caused by a sharp object which may be as a result of human elephant conflict. A python and leopard were captured and relocated to Meru National Park to reduce human wildlife conflict.

CASE#1 STUDY OF PARASITES IN GRANTS GAZELLE

Date: 2nd – 7th June 2015

Species: Grants Gazelle

Age: Adult

Sex: Mixed

Location: Mpala Ranch

History

This was a collaborative study between the University of Georgia and the Kenya Wildlife Service that aimed to identify and characterize endoparasites affecting Grants Gazelle and elucidate risk factors for parasite infestation. 

Immobilization and Sample Collection

Sample collection was carried out between 2nd and 7th June in Mpala ranch. During this period 58 gazelles were physically restrained using nets and transported to a central location by a helicopter for processing.

The helicopter is used to transport the gazelles  The gazelles are airlifted in a net

Age, sex and weight of gazelles were recorded in individual data sheets. Fecal samples were collected in fecal pots whereas whole blood and serum samples were taken in vacutainers from the jugular vein. Various tests were carried out to identify and quantify hemoparasites and helminthes in the samples by simple microscopy and molecular genetic techniques.

Measurements are taken  The net is used to restrain the gazelle

CASE#2 TREATMENT OF A WHITE RHINO

Date: 11th June 2015

Species: White Rhino

Age: Adult

Sex: Male

Location: Meru National Park

History

The warden in charge of the rhino sanctuary in Meru national park reported that a white rhino suffered severe filarial wounds on the flanks which required treatment.

The rhino with a parasite injury is located  Certain parasites cause big wounds on rhinos

Immobilization, examination and treatment

This rhino was immobilized using a combination of M99 and 10% Xylazine delivered in a single 3ml DanInject dart from a helicopter which also monitored the darted animal and directed a team on the ground. Once immobilized the animal was stabilized using 1% Butorphanol tartate administered intravenously into superficial ear vein. It was positioned on sternal recumbency for examination and treatment.

A T- shaped cutaneous wound on the right lateral thorax caused by filariae infestation was identified. The dead tissue was debrided by washing with hydrogen peroxide and Iodine before green clay was packed into the wounds. Ivermectin 150mg was then injected subcutaneously and 20% Alamycin 60ml was injected intramuscularly.

The wound is examined   After being cleaned the wound is packed with green clay

Reversal

After treatment Naltrexone hydrochloride and Antisedan was injected intravenously to reverse the effect of anesthesia.

The vet team ready to revive the rhino  The team help the rhino into position

Prognosis

Wounds caused by filariae respond well to treatment and it is expected that this animal will make a complete recovery.

CASE#3 TREATMENT OF AN ELEPHANT WITH SPEAR WOUNDS

Date: 11th June 2015

Species: Elephant

Age: Adult

Sex: Male

Location: Meru National Park

History

Tour guides from Elsas Kopje lodge reported an elephant which was oozing pus from an abscess on its flank and requested treatment.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Immobilization was achieved using M99 16mg in a 1.5 ml dart with from a vehicle after briefly herding the elephant to open ground. The dart was placed in the left gluteal muscle and induction time was five minutes.

An elephant is spotted with a wound that requires treatment  The vet team examine the elephant

Examination showed a suppurating wound caused by a sharp objected penetrating into the abdominal muscles on the dorsal part of the right flank. The wound was washed and debrided with Hydrogen peroxide and Iodine and then given long lasting antibiotics.

The wound oozes with pus  No foreign object is found inside the wound

The wound is cleaned out throughly  Alot of pus and dead tissue has to be removed

Reversal

Diprenophine hydrochloride was injected intravenously to reverse the effect of anesthesia and this elephant soon joined the rest of the herd which were waiting nearby during the procedure.

The elephant gets to its feet  

Prognosis

This animal is expected to make a slow recovery.

CASE#4 DESNARING AN ELEPHANT CALF

Date: 15th June 2015

Species: Elephant

Age: Infant – 2.5 years

Sex: Male

Location: Meru National Park

History

This elephant had a wire snare on its right hind limb and had been reported by tour guides from Elsas Kopje lodge in May but could not be traced for treatment at the time. After several weeks of searching the veterinary team found it within a herd of 20 elephants near Rojowero river in Meru park and quickly made a plan for treatment. An extra vehicle provided by the park was essential to herd this elephant to open ground.

An elephant calf with a snare wound is seen in a herd

Immobilization, examination and treatment

As elephant mothers are extremely protective of their calves the mother was first immobilized using M99. After seven minutes from the darting time she was down and the calf was then immobilized using 1mg M99. The rest of the herd formed a protective ring around the calves and had to be pushed away with a vehicle.

Examination showed a plain wire snare tightly around its lower right hind limb causing severe swelling, tissue strangulation and infected wounds. The calf also showed severe lameness. The wire snare was removed using a wire cutter and the resultant wounds debrided with Hydrogen Peroxide and Iodine before being packed with green clay. Antibiotic and antiflammatory drug were also administered.

The snare injury  The snare is cut away with wire cutters

Reversal

To reverse the anesthesia the calf was given Diprenophine and restrained physically whilst its mother was then revived. Once the mother showed signs of revival the calf was released to join her. These elephants later joined their herd mates who were waiting nearby.

The snare wound  The wound is cleaned and treated

Prognosis

Though wounds caused by snares are debilitating, they respond well to treatment after removal of snare. This calf will soon recover from these injuries.

CASE#5 DESNARING A LION

Date: 17th June 2015

Species: Lion

Age: Adult

Sex: Male

Location: Meru National Park

History

Tour guides from Elsas Kopje lodge reported this lion which had a loose snare around its neck and requested for veterinary intervention.

The lion was found in the company of another male lion feeding on a zebra carcass. A brief observation of the lion showed a snare around its neck, though it was loose and had not caused any injuries the lion needed to be immobilized to remove the snare to reduce the risk of asphyxia.

A lion is seen with a loose wire snare  The snare is not life threatening but needs to be removed

Immobilization, examination and treatment

A combination of 250mg Ketamine and 10mg 4% Medetomidine hydrochloride in a 3ml Daninject dart from a vehicle with the dart fired into the gluteal muscles. It remained calm after darting only moving a short distance before lying down with an induction time of 10 minutes.

This lion was blind folded and moved to a shade where the snare was loosened and removed.

The lion is anaesthetised   The snare is removed

Reversal

Effect of Medetomidine was reversed using Antisedan with the lion showing complete reversal after 15 minutes of administration of reversal drugs.

Prognosis

This lion will make a full recovery.

CASE#6 EXAMINATION AND EUTHANASIA OF AN ELEPHANT

Date: 17th June 2015

Species: Elephant

Age: Adult

Sex: Female

Location: Lewa Wildlife Conservancy

History

This elephant was reported by rangers on patrol who found it recumbent in a stream. Efforts to assist it onto its feet were unsuccessful therefore they requested veterinary intervention.

Examination and management

An examination of the elephant showed severe emaciation though no injuries were observed. An internal disease condition was suspected. This animal is estimated to have been recumbent for more than 24 hours based on evidence from the surrounding environment.

An elephant is seen in pain in a waterhole  Sadly it is to late for this elephant

To relieve suffering euthanasia was recommended. Later its tusks were removed and taken into custody by the senior warden in Laikipia.

CASE#7 SEARCH FOR AN INJURED BLACK RHINO

Date: 22nd June 2015

Species: Black Rhino

Age: Sub adult – 4 years

Sex: Female

Location: Ol Pejeta Conservancy

History

Rangers on patrol in OPC reported that a female black rhino had been injured during a fight with a bull. Blood was seen oozing from the abdomen which seemed to have been perforated.

The team visited the ranch on 22nd June to treat this injured rhino. However, a two day search for this individual by a fixed wing plane and ground team could not locate it and it has not been seen again despite the rather severe injuries it sustained in the fight.

CASE#8 RESCUE OF AN ELEPHANT CALF

Date: 23rd June 2015

Species: Elephant

Age: Infant – 15 months

Sex: Male

Location: Rumuruti Forest – AA Flower farm

History

The manager in charge of AA flower farm reported to the DSWT office in Nairobi that an injured and abandoned elephant calf was seen roaming near the electric fence of his farm. There were no other elephants nearby.

Treatment

The Meru veterinary unit visited the farm to treat injuries on the calf which showed severe lameness caused by a fabric snare on its right forelimb and a spear wound to the head. As this calf was milk dependent a DSWT rescue team had already restrained the animal and it was transported to the DSWT nursery in Nairobi.

The rescue plane ready for the injured elephant calf  The calf secured ready for the flight to the Nursery

Prognosis

The calf was named SImotua and is doing well at the nursery.

CASE#9 RESCUE OF A PYTHON

Date: 27th June 2015

Species: Python

Age: Unknown

Sex: Unknown

Location: Ndoleli community land, relocated to Meru National Park

History

A python was reported to have caused a threat to livestock and community in Ndoleli area 10km from Meru national park. It was captured and relocated to the park on 27th June 2015.

A python has been causing problems in the community  The python is captured

The python needs to be secured for transport  The python is placed in a bag

CASE#10 RELOCATION OF A LEOPARD

Date: 27th June 2015

Species: Leopard

Age: Adult

Sex: Male

Location: Community land near Ol Jogi Ranch

History

This leopard was captured in community land near Ol Jogi ranch where it was feeding on livestock. It was captured in a trap and transported to the expansive Meru park where it was released.

A leopard is captured  The leopard is released into Meru National Park

Acknowledgement

We would like to acknowledge financial support provided by the David Sheldrick wildlife Trust to facilitate treatment of injured wildlife and reduce suffering in wildlife.

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