THE TSAVO MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
REPORT FOR - September 2004

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Elephant Cow with an Abnormally Grown Left Tusk The cow, a herd matriarch and estimated to be 35-40 years old, had an abnormally grown left tusk that was curved upwards and then backwards penetrating deeply into the upper jaw.

The Elephant cow with a curved tusk growing into her upper jaw  The tusk can be clearly seen to be growing abnormally into the cow's upper jaw

The cow is darted and rolled into lateral recumbency

The herd was seen at Ndara plains within Tsavo East Park National during routine patrol and treatment was made promptly before the herd was lost. There are reports that the animal was seen several years ago but it got lost and had not been seen again since then. It was in profound distress for many years and the treatment must have been a great relieve. The tusk was cut several inches from the point of penetration and re-growth is not expected as the animal is already mature.

Dr. Ndeereh has to cut the tusk in order to remove the piece growing into the cow's uppe jaw  The piece of tusk is removed from the upper jaw

The wound caused by the tusk is cleaned  The wound after it has been cleaned and treated with antibiotic spray

Unfortunately, we didnít have appropriate tools for the work. We underestimated the degree of hardness and thought that a hack saw would cut it. Two of them broke and a dehorning wire snapped even before they made a dent leaving us with no alternative but to improvise with whatever other tools available. The wound was thereafter treated and an antibiotic administered. The herd had not been seen again at the time of preparing this report and efforts to look for it to establish how it is fairing are ongoing.

Dr. Ndeereh administers the reversal drug  The cow starts to get up

The cow rejoins her herd

Injured Elephant bull at Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary This bull had multiple injuries some possibly inflicted by arrows, while the causes of others could not be determined. The wounds were not serious and were not affecting feeding and movement. Treatment was however considered to prevent spread of any infection that could arise if left untreated. It was in a rocky terrain that had dense bush and darting as well as subsequent follow up from a vehicle was not possible. This was therefore done on foot from a distance of about 40 metres while accompanied by a ranger with a heavy calibre rifle. The approach was slow from downwind and out of its sight. Darting elicited an alarm reaction and the elephant ran away. It was followed at a safe distance that could not induce further agitation that would make it run away. It went down after about seven minutes. The wounds were cleaned and treated and an antibiotic cover was given intramuscularly.

The elephant goes down after being darted  The wound on the elephants midsection before treatment seeping puss

Dr. Ndeereh cleans the wound making sure the puss is removed  The wound on the elephants leg before treatment

The leg wound is cleaned of all the puss  The elephant starts to get up after the reversal drug is administered

The elephant walks back into the bush after receiving treatment for his wounds

Snared Giraffe, elephant calf and two buffaloes at Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary These animals were treated on diverse dates this month. The giraffe was carrying a loose wire snare on the right hind leg,

The Giraffe is darted  The snare around the Giraffes lower leg

Dr. Ndeereh cuts the snare with wire cutters  The Giraffe up and about after the snare is removed

while the one in the elephant calf (about 3 years old) had cut through the skin on the right fore leg. After the calf was immobilised, two cows (the mother and possibly the herd matriarch) refused to leave even when threatened by the crew using vehicles. We could not identify the mother between the two to also immobilise it and then chase away the matriarch once mother and calf were down. Both were therefore chased away but remained in the vicinity during treatment. Some people remained on the lookout for returning members of the herd. The herd quickly returned when the calf made the first sound after treatment was done and the revival drug administered.

The snare is cutting into the elephant calf's right fore leg  The wound caused by the snare after treatment

The elephant walks away after the reversal drug is administered

The two buffaloes that were also treated at the Sanctuary had serious injuries arising from tight snares on the left fore leg in a 2 year old calf

The buffalo is darted  The snare is embedded in the buffalo's leg just above the hoof

The snare is cut and removed  The Buffalo rejoins its herd

and around the neck in a mature bull.

The Buffalo is darted  The snare is cutting into the Buffalo's neck

Dr. Ndeereh cuts has to cut the snare in order to remove it  Dr. Ndeereh cleans the wound caused by the snare

The wound after it has been sprayed with an antibiotic  The buffalo starts to get up after the reversal drug is administered

Rescue Operations i)Elephant Calf at Ziwani Swamp The calf (aged about 1Ĺ years) was found at Ziwani swamp just next to the South-Eastern boundary of Tsavo West National Park. It had multiple bite wounds at different parts of the body either sustained from a lion or a hyena attack. It was herded out of the swamp and captured physically before it was sedated to allow examination and treatment of the wounds.

The elephant calf out in the swamp  The calf tries to resist being captured

The calf is caught and restrained  The wounds on the calfs hindquarters can be seen seeping puss

The calf is loaded into the back of a pickup

They were infected and one at the genital area was deep and infested with maggots. They were cleaned and treated locally and an antibiotic cover given. It was thereafter airlifted to the Nairobi nursery for rehabilitation.

Dr. Ndeereh cleans the wounds  The wounds after they have been treated by Dr. Ndeereh

The calf is loaded into the plane to be transported to the Nairobi Nursery Unit

It unfortunately went off feed and progressively became weaker the following day. It did not respond to resuscitation measures administered and all attempts to nurse it were not successful. It was euthanased later in the evening. ii)Elephant Calf at Taita Ranch This one was about 3 years old and had been seen wandering alone in the ranch. The unit was informed about it while treating an injured elephant bull reported herein. The calf was weak, emaciated and jaundiced, and offered little resistance when captured physically without medication. People who saw and reported it had no information on the whereabouts of its mother/family. It was rescued and taken to The Voi elephant orphanage where it is undergoing rehabilitation. It is slowly improving and it is just a matter of time before it regains weight.

The calf is found wandering around the ranch  The calf is caught and restrained

A dose of antibiotics is administered by Dr. Ndeereh  Medication is put into the calf's affected eye

The calf is loaded into the back of a truck to be transpoted to the Voi Stockade  The calf is greeted and welcomed by the other orphans

The calf at the stockades the next day getting acquainted with one of its keepers

iii)Rescue of an Elephant Calf at Bachuma The calf was reported by herdsmen who saw it fallen into a manhole along the Mzima water pipeline near Bachuma as they were watering their animals. The manhole lid was missing and calf probably fell as it tried reaching for fresh water. It was aged about 6 months and no elephants had been seen nearby. It could have fallen the previous night as we were informed that elephants come to water there during the night and avoid the day when people and their livestock frequent the water point all day. It was rescued and airlifted un-sedated to the Nairobi nursery where it is reported to have adapted very well. iii)Rescue of an Elephant Calf at Bachuma The calf was reported by herdsmen who saw it fallen into a manhole along the Mzima water pipeline near Bachuma as they were watering their animals. The manhole lid was missing and calf probably fell as it tried reaching for fresh water. It was aged about 6 months and no elephants had been seen nearby. It could have fallen the previous night as we were informed that elephants come to water there during the night and avoid the day when people and their livestock frequent the water point all day. It was rescued and airlifted un-sedated to the Nairobi nursery where it is reported to have adapted very well.

Herdsmen standing around the manhole that the calf fell in  The calf can be seeing trying to climb out

The calf is constantly struggling to get out  The calf is finally gotten out of the manhole

The calf is fed some rehydration liquid  The calf is loaded into a pickup to be transported to the airstrip

The calf loaded into the plane to be flown to Nairobi

iv)Buffalo bull stuck in mud at pipeline area in Tsavo East National Park The buffalo got stuck while wallowing at a dry water hole along the Mzima water pipeline that passes through the Tsavo National Park. It was rescued and free released. It was very exhausted after hours of struggling and no chemical restraint was required for the exercise.

The Buffalo stuck in the mud at the pipeline  The Buffalo covered in mud from its efforts to get unstuck

A rope is thrown over the Buffalo to try and pull it out

Zebra with Snare at Irima area within Tsavo East National Park The zebra had a trailing but loose wire snare around the neck. It was in a herd of over 30 other zebras at Irima near Voi Safari Lodge.

The Zebra is darted, the snare can be seen hanging from its neck  The darted Zebra goes down

Dr. Ndeereh removes the snare from around the Zebra's neck  The Zebra gets up after the reversal drug is administered

Elephant Bull with Swollen left hind leg at Taita Ranch The elephant was limping and dragging its left hind leg. Initially, an injury on the spoor was suspected as none could be seen on the other parts of the leg from a distance. Therefore, it was immobilised to enable a close and more detailed examination. Darting was done on foot due to thick vegetation cover that could not allow approach by vehicle. Once immobilised and examined however, no injury, not even a sign of it, was seen but the upper part of the leg was swollen from an undetermined cause which could possibly be an injury sustained long time ago. There was little assistance that could be given other than giving it an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory drug.

The bull elephant is spotted through the trees  Dr. Ndeereh examines the bull

An anti-inflamatory drug is administered  Dr. Ndeereh administers the reversal drug

The bull elephant back on its feet

Snared Giraffe in Amboseli National Park The giraffe was ensnared around the neck and the medial hoof of the left hind leg by the same winch cable snare. Only a section of the skin was remaining holding the hoof in place, all the other tissues were cut. The hoof sloughed off as the snare was being removed but this is not a problem and the animal will be able to survive on one hoof. Unfortunately, we were unable to give complete treatment as the animal developed respiratory complications and regurgitation.

The Giraffe is darted  The winch snare around the Giraffe's neck

Dr. Ndeereh cuts the snare with wire cutters  The snare around the Giraffes hind leg is cut

The Giraffe up afer the snares are removed

The respiration became very depressed and irregular despite administration of the antagonist drugs immediately the animal went down. This is a bad sign in a recumbent giraffe and therefore it was released before the injuries were properly cleaned rather than have it die from these complications. However, an antibiotic was administered to help clear the infection. With the wire out and the antibiotic that was given, the animal is expected to recover fully. Reports so far indicate that the giraffe is doing well. Cases that did not require Veterinary intervention i)Lioness at Aruba in Tsavo East This lioness was reported at Aruba within Tsavo East National Park. It was in a pride of 5 other females and cubs. It had a laceration on the left hock joint area from a natural cause, possibly while hunting. The injury only involved the skin, was dry and was not affecting movement. Any intervention was considered to be of little assistance and unnecessary stress to the animal.

Three lionesses sitting under the shade of a low treee  A wound can be seen on one of the lionesses left hind leg

The lioness with a wound on her left hind leg

ii)Lame Elephant at Mwaluganje Elephant Sanctuary The bull elephant was lame on the right hind leg but there was no physical injury or swelling that was visible. It wasnít manifesting any signs of pain and was able to put weight on the leg. It was able to ambulate and browse and was in good body condition. Immobilisation would have been of no assistance.

The lame bull elephant together with the rest of the herd  The herd of elephants at a small watering hole

Progress of Some Animals Treated in August i)Odile; the OB Family Matriarch from Amboseli Odile is the elephant cow treated in August with multiple spear injuries. Two of the spears were still lodged on its head during treatment.

Odile before the spears were removed

The family disappeared soon after but reappeared on 14th September. The injuries were reported to be healed and there were no signs of infection.

Odile after having the spears removed by Dr. Ndeereh  Odile after her spear wounds were treated

The family disappeared again the following day and has not been seen again. Efforts to look for it to further assess the progress are on going. Most elephant herds have moved out of the park towards Mt. Kilimanjaro where they are more difficult to find following the dry spell being experienced currently. The other cow from the same family also treated for spear injuries was reported to have recovered fully.

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