THE MARA MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
REPORT FOR - November 2016

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FIELD VETERINARY REPORT FOR MASAI MARA FOR THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER 2016

By Dr. Campaign Limo

Introduction

The month still did not have very much rain but there were some patches of precipitation in some areas towards the end of the month. All cases reported were attended to which included the rescue of an orphaned baby elephant who had been attacked by a pride of lions and treatment of a cheetah with severe mange, among other cases. 

The following were cases handled during the period:

CASE #1 COLLARING OF A BULL ELEPHANT

Date: 9th Nov 2016

Species: African elephant

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Pardamat conservancy

History

This lone and massive bull was reported to be terrorising people at the edge of Pardamat Conservancy having on more than one occasion chased people from their homesteads and creating a curfew. With recent events happening in this conservation area involving human elephant conflict and with some human fatalities, the community were threatening to kill this elephant. KWS with the Mara Elephant Project decided to collar this elephant to inform on his movements and avert clashes by preventing him from entering household and farm areas.

Immobilization and collaring

Restraint was achieved by use of 16mgs Etorphine hydrochloride delivered in a 3ml dan-inject dart from a helicopter with the elephant becoming fully immobilized after ten minutes.

An elephant bull is collared  An elephant bull is collared

A quick examination revealed he was in good body condition and estimated to be 40 years of age. A GSM /Satellite collar was deployed and morphometric measurements taken before the anaesthetic was reversed after which he was driven deep into the Conservancy.

  This bull needs to be collared

CASE #2 EXAMINATION OF A MALE LION

Date: 21st November 2016

Species: African lion

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Hammer kop area (Masai Mara Reserve)

History

This male lion was seen with his brother and four adult females by a tour guide who reported that one of the males was severely limping. They requested the Vet Unit services for assessment and possible intervention.

General observation

This pride of lions was found lying close to a Lugga in a shade close to a kill. Both of the males would not easily stand and move to confirm their health status but eventually we found both to be in good shape. Neither of them had a limp. All the females were also found to be sound. It was thought, the reported limping was a temporary sprain while hunting which healed almost immediately. Closer examination of the carcass revealed it was an elephant calf, about two to three years whose sex could not be determined because much of it had been eaten. There was evidence of a fierce fight between the lions and what appeared to be the mother of the calf as the scene showed massive shrub destruction by elephants probably trying to stop the lions from snatching the calf. Both tusks of the calf were intact and were retrieved and taken by county security team for safe custody and accounting.

This lion was assessed for injuries but was found to be healthy  This lion was assessed for injuries but was found to be healthy

CASE #3 TREATMENT OF A WARTHOG PIGLET

Date: 23rd November 2016

Species: Warthog

Sex: Male

Age: Juvenile

Location: Kichwa Tembo

History

This baby warthog was seen with a plastic band round his right hind leg at the fetlock joint by The Ann K Taylor anti-snaring team and reported to the unit for action. The piglet was around three months old and with his mother and two other piglets.

Immobilisation, examination and treatment

The piglet was tranquilized by use of 7mgs Azaperone delivered remotely through a 1.5ml dan-inject dart from foot. It took ten minutes for him to be calm upon which the mother was temporarily scared away and the piglet taken for treatment.

A piglet has plastic wrapped around its leg  The piglet is darted for treatment

The band was removed with the resultant wound washed with copious amount of water, debrided with Hydrogen peroxide, wiped dry with gauze swab before tincture of Iodine was applied. Additional treatment included parenteral administration of 450mgs Amoxicillin antibiotic and 6mgs Dexamethasone sodium anti-inflammatory.

The piglet is darted for treatment  The piglet is darted for treatment

He remained calm for one hour under careful watch of the team after which he regained full consciousness and was released to join his mother.

The plastic is removed  The resultant wound is cleaned

Prognosis

Good.

CASE#4 EXAMINATION OF A DEAD BULL ELEPHANT

Date: 23rd November 2016

Species: African elephant

Age: Sub adult

Sex: Male

Location: Sanguriai (Mara Triangle)

History

This elephant was found dead with no visible injuries by Mara Triangle security team. They sought the Vet Unit services to determine its cause of death. It was reported that he was part of a herd that were crossing the Mara Triangle.

EXAMINATION OF A DEAD BULL ELEPHANT  EXAMINATION OF A DEAD BULL ELEPHANT

General examination

  • Carcass had been scavenged by hyenas and vultures.
  • This elephant appeared severely emaciated with bony prominences evident.
  • Little ingested material seen in gastrointestinal tract.
  • Carcass was severely pale and dehydrated.

Though much of the carcass had been eaten rendering it ineligible for meaningful and conclusive post-mortem, there was evidence of prolonged debility.

Conclusion

This elephant could have died of debility caused by undetermined chronic condition which caused anaemia among other pathologies.

CASE #5 RESCUE OF AN ELEPHANT CALF

Date: 25th November 2016

Species: African elephant

Sex: Male

Age: Calf

Location: Olare Motorogi Conservancy

History

This baby elephant was about 4 years old and appeared to have been orphaned sometime back. However, for unknown reasons, he refused to join or was not accepted into other elephant herds and has frequently been seen within the conservancy alone. On 23rd of this month, he was attacked by a pride of lions but managed to escape with injuries to his back and the loss of his tail. This prompted the Olare-Motorogi Conservancy Management and Mahali Mzuri Camp Management to request our services for treatment and advice on the way forward.

An elephant is seen alone mauled by lions  He is very vulnerable to predators

The Vet Unit found the calf with the lion injuries as well as another injury to his right hind foot. All the wounds were septic and after thorough deliberations, it was felt that this elephant had to be rescued after treatment as he was still vulnerable to predators.

Immobilization and treatment

Restraint was achieved by tranquilization with 70mgs Azaperone delivered through a 1.5ml dan-inject dart from foot. It took ten minutes for the calf to calm down. All the wounds were cleaned with copious amount of water and all necrotic tissue trimmed. Hydrogen peroxide was applied to remove any remaining necrotic tissue before tincture of Iodine was used as a disinfectant. Finally Oxytetracycline spray was applied topically. An additional 30mgs Azaperone was given to this calf before he was loaded onto a plane that airlifted him to the Nairobi DSWT elephant orphanage for further treatment, management and care.

He is restrained and his wounds treated  He is restrained and his wounds treated

CASE #6 TREATMENT OF A CHEETAH FOR MANGE

Date: 25th November 2016

Species: Cheetah

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Lookout (Masai Mara National Reserve)

History

This lone male cheetah was seen by the Mara county security team on their patrols with severe mange. They called the veterinary unit for action. The cheetah was found beside a thicket and had recently eaten a baby impala. The Mara-Meru Cheetah Project and Cheetah Forever teams were waiting close by and stayed to guide us to his location. The entire neck and his belly were becoming alopecic because of mange. However, his overall body condition was fare as his ability to hunt was not impaired.

This cheetah is treated for mange  This cheetah is treated for mange

Treatment

The team decided to treat him with Ivermectin parasiticide by delivering 15mgs of Ivermectin remotely using 1.5ml dan-inject dart from a vehicle. This was done successfully and the next such treatment will be carried out in the next 14-21 days. Meanwhile, the rangers on the ground were advised to watch over him and report his progress.

Prognosis

Good.

CASE #7 ELEPHANT DE-COLLARING

Date: 26th November 2016

Species: African elephant:

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Ndonyo Rinka

History

This elephant was collared earlier in the year in collaboration between KWS and WWF aimed at helping manage and monitor elephants for security purposes. However this collar failed soon after deployment and an agreement was reached to replace this collar with all partners including Mara Elephant Project participating.

Immobilization and collar replacement

Immobilization was achieved by use of 16mgs Etorphine hydrochloride delivered through a 1.5ml dan-inject dart from a helicopter with the drugs taking full effect after seven minutes. After stabilizing this elephant, the old ineffective collar was removed and replaced with a new GSM/Satellite collar and it was confirmed to be working before the anaesthetic was reversed.

Reversal

Reversal of the anaesthetic was achieved by administration of 36mgs Diprenorphine hydrochloride through a prominent ear vein. He got up after three minutes after reversal to join the rest of the herd.

Conclusion

The Mara Mobile Veterinary unit is grateful to everyone who offered help in reporting and for support during intervention of the cases handled throughout the month. Thanks to Minara Foundation through DSWT for their continuous facilitation to the unit. Thanks to KWS management too for their continued guidance and help to the unit. The unit has benefitted immensely from all of your support.

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