THE TSAVO MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
REPORT FOR - November 2015

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FIELD VETERINARY REPORT FOR TSAVO MOBILE VET UNIT FOR THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER 2015

Reported By Jeremiah Poghon

Introduction

The Tsavo ecosystem is currently experiencing some much rains which have turned the area lush green with many temporary water holes filled up. Plenty of food and water usually leads to less human wildlife conflict and poaching attempts as many people turn to their farms to grow food plants. The cases handled in the region included treatment of an injured elephant bull in Ol donyo wuas area of Chyulu, rescue of an elephant calf along Mzima pipeline and post mortem examination of a dead cheetah in Tsavo east. A security dog was also treated for bloody diarrhoea and Elephant tusk exhibits examined and court reports produced.

CASE#1 TREATMENT OF A SPEARED ELEPHANT

Date:           1st November 2015

Species:     Elephant

Sex:             Male

Age:            Adult

Location:         Ol Donyo Wuas, Chyulu national park

History

This elephant was seen at the Ol Donyo Wuas lodge water hole by rangers manning the conservancy and alerted the vet team. The following day the vet was airlifted to the area by DSWT aircraft. The vet team had to wait for the calf to reappear and the following morning the elephant was located at the water hole with 3 other big bulls.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

The elephant was immobilised using 18 mgs Etorphine in a Dan-inject dart using a dan-inject dart gun from a vehicle. He ran off into the bushes with the team in hot pursuit and was lost briefly but later located lying on sternal recumbency. He was pulled to his side using ropes tied to a land cruiser.

The elephant is darted successfully  The team attend to the speared elephant

There was a spear injury to the back near the spinal column area. The wound was cleaned using water mixed with Hydrogen peroxide. Tincture of iodine and Oxytetracycline spray were applied before the wound was covered with green clay.

The spear wound

Reversal

An intravenous administration of 50 cc Dexamethasone Hcl was given through the ear vein. He was assisted onto his feet as he was facing downhill. He woke up and walked away slowly.

Prognosis

Prognosis is very good.

CASE#2 TREATMENT OF A SECURITY DOG

Date:  3rd November 2015

Species: Canine -ALF

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Ngulia, Tsavo West National Park

GPS coordinates: 37M 0460546 UTM 9580801

History

This tracker dog is used by security teams in Tsavo to track poachers in the vast ecosystem. The trained attack dog ALF was brought with signs of bloody diarrhea and anorexia. 

Examination and treatment

Examination revealed temperature of 49.5 C and slight congestion of mucous membranes. Blood and fecal smears did not reveal anything.

A diagnosis of bacterial enteritis was made. Treatment with 3.5 cc of long acting Amoxicillin and dexamethasone were administered parenterally.

Prognosis

Follow up revealed recovery.

CASE#3 RESCUE OF AN ELEPHANT CALF

Date:  11th November 2015

Species: Loxodanta Africana (African Elephant)

Sex: Male

Age: Calf

Location: Pipeline, Tsavo East National Park

History

After the repair of the temporary water hole along the Mzima pipeline another water hole was dug by elephants looking for water along the pipeline. The temporary water hole was created by leakages along the Mzima-Mombasa water pipeline and subsequently made deeper by elephants digging activity at the site.

The waterhole where the elephant calf was found

It provides water for elephants staying near the park headquarters during the dry season when most of the water holes are dry. The report was made visitors to the area of an elephant calf that was struggling to climb over the walls of the water hole. The vet team together with the Voi stockade team rushed to the location to find the calf stuck in the water hole and unable to scale the walls with no mother or any other herd around. The tiny calf was rescued and taken to the stockade where it was fed on milk before being airlifted to Nairobi.

The calf's family are long gone  The little calf is friendly

Prognosis

Korongo is doing well at the Nursery.

The calf at the Voi stockades awaiting the plane

CASE#4 POSTMORTEM OF A CHEETAH

Date:  25th November 2015

Species: Cheetah

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Tarhi camp, Tsavo east National Park

GPS coordinates: 37M 0466523 UTM 9628272

History

A report was made by tourists along Voi- Aruba road about a dead cheetah near the road. The team rushed to the area and found a Cheetah’s carcass beside the road in advanced stage of decomposition. Complete autopsy could not be undertaken due to the advanced stage of decomposition.

A dead cheetah possibly killed by lions

Bite marks were observed around the neck suggesting a lion attack.

CASE#5 RESCUE OF A HARTEBEEST CALF

Date:  28th November 2015

Species: Hartebeest

Sex: Male

Age: Calf

Location: Taita ranches, Tsavo

History

This lone calf was rescued by a community member who found it wondering alone in the vast Taita ranches, a place that teems with a variety of wildlife. The community member kept it for 2 days and fed it on milk before calling the vet unit for help. The calf was picked and brought to the Voi elephant stockade where it was fed on milk and put in a secured, well ventilated room.

A Hartebeest calf rescued and taken to Voi  The young calf takes milk

Other activities undertaken

The unit examined several elephant tusk exhibits and produced two professional reports for use by prosecution in court cases at Voi law courts.

Acknowledgement

The unit would like to appreciate the support of its sponsors ViER PFOTEN through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) for their continued funding.  We also thank Kenya Wildlife Service through the Assistant director Tsavo conservation area and the head, veterinary and capture services department for their immense support to the unit.

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