THE TSAVO MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
REPORT FOR - April 2017

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FIELD VETERINARY REPORT FOR TSAVO MOBILE VET UNIT FOR THE MONTH OF APRIL 2017

Reported by Dr Jeremiah Poghon

Summary

The month of April witnessed a slight increase in elephant bulls with injuries that were linked to attempted poaching incidences. Two elephant bulls were treated for arrow and spear wounds near Luggards falls, Tsavo East and Amboseli National Park respectively, an eland was euthanized after it sustained deep slash wounds in Rombo Group Ranch, a lion was treated for snare wounds in Kipini Ranch, Lamu and an elephant orphan was rescued near Aruba lodge after being spotted alone for several days.

CASE#1 TREATMENT OF AN INJURED ELEPHANT BULL

Date: 11th April 2017

Species: Elephant

Sex: Male

Age: About 30 years

Place: Luggards falls, Tsavo east

History

An elephant bull frequenting the Chapeu camp near Luggards falls along Galana River was seen with a huge wound on the lateral aspect of the right thigh. The Vet Unit drove to the area and searched extensively with a vehicle but did not find the elephant. The following day the Unit requested the assistance of the DSWT airplane and the pilot easily spotted the injured bull along the banks of the river.

The injury to the elephants leg  Removing necrotic tissues

Immobilization, examination and treatment

The vet immobilized the bull using 18 mgs of Etorphine in a dan-inject dart loaded into a dart gun, from a vehicle. Drug effects took 7 minutes and he went down in left lateral recumbency.

There was a huge septic wound with pus oozing out on the lateral aspect of the right thigh. An arrow head was removed, the wound opened and big chunks of necrotic tissues mixed with pus removed, after which the wound was cleaned using water mixed with hydrogen peroxide. Tincture of iodine and Oxytetracycline spray were then applied, followed by a final cover of wetted green clay.

Cleaning the wound with Hydrogen Peroxide  Cleaning the wound with Hydrogen Peroxide

The tissues debrided and disinfected with Iodine  The wound is sprayed with antiseptic spray

An intravenous administration of 50 cc Dexamethasone Hcl was administered through the ear vein and 200 cc of long acting Amoxicillin injected intramuscularly.     

Reversal and Prognosis

The anesthetic was reversed by administration of Diprenorphine Hcl at three times the Etorphine dose. Prognosis is guarded to good.

Applying Green Clay  The vet team working on the elephant

CASE#2 EXAMINATION OF AN ELAND

Date: 12th April 2017

Species: Eland

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Rombo Group Ranch, Tsavo

History

This eland was spotted in the morning struggling to walk and subsequently lying down in Rombo Group Ranch near the Tanzanian border. Close examination revealed deep cuts on the body and the Achilles tendon. The Achilles tendon had been severed by slashing with a sharp object in a bush meat poaching attempt.

An eland unfortunately had to be euthanized

Case Management

Due to the cut Achilles tendon and impossibility of surgical suturing in a wild situation, euthanasia was the best possible option to reduce animal suffering.

CASE#3 TREATMENT OF A SNARED LION

Date: 15th April 2017

Species: Lion

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Kipini Conservancy, Lamu

History

This mane-less lion was spotted by Kipini rangers with a right forelimb injury caused by a nylon rope near the ankle joint. The snare is suspected to have been set by bush meat hunters in the area due to plenty of wild game. The lion was found in a shady area eating a fresh buffalo carcass.

This lion with a snare was found with a buffalo carcass  The vet team are flown on site to treat the lion

Immobilization, examination and treatment

The vet used a dart containing 300 mgs of Ketamine and 4 mgs of Meditomidine to sedate the lion. It took about 12 minutes for the lion to be fully immobilized. The eyes were covered with a towel then the tough nylon snare was cut loose and the wound cleaned using water mixed with Hydrogen Peroxide. Tincture of iodine and Oxytetracycline spray was then applied followed by a coating of green clay.

The snare is removed and the wound cleaned  Hopefully he will make a full recovery

20CC of long acting Amoxicillin and 10CC dexamethasone were administered parenterally.

Reversal and Prognosis

The lion was revived using 2.5 mgs of Atipemazole. Further follow up indicate improvement.

CASE#4 TREATMENT OF AN INJURED ELEPHANT

Date: 17th April 2017

Species: Elephant

Sex: Male

Age: Adult (40 years)

Location: Amboseli National Park

History

An elephant bull was spotted by Big Life Rangers manning the group ranches surrounding Amboseli National Park. It had a wound to the lower abdomen that was oozing pus and blood. The vet unit rushed to the area and found the bull near Mashenani gate under some bushes.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

The vet approached the elephant in a vehicle and darted him with 18 mgs of Etorphine. The drug took effect in 10 minutes and the elephant went down in right lateral recumbency.

There was a septic wound with pus oozing out on the mid abdominal area near the prepuce most likely caused by a spear. The wound was opened and disinfected with water mixed with Hydrogen Peroxide, tincture of Iodine and Oxytetracycline spray. Finally a cover of green clay was applied followed by an intravenous administration of 50 cc Dexamethasone Hcl through the ear vein and 200 cc of long acting Amoxicillin intramuscularly.

An injured elephant is darted for treatment  Checking the wound for foreign bodies and necrotic tissues

The wound is cleaned with hydrogen peroxide  The vet working on the elephant

  

Reversal and Prognosis

The anesthetic was reversed by administration of 1 cc Diprenorphine Hcl mixed with Naltrexone through the ear vein. Prognosis is good.

CASE#5 RESCUE OF AN ELEPHANT CALF

Date: 17th April 2017

Species: Elephant

Sex: Male

Age: Infant (2 years)

Location: Aruba, Tsavo East

History and Rescue

A report was made by tour operators regarding an elephant calf that was observed for several days near Aruba Lodge, Tsavo East, seemingly abandoned by the mother. The vet team together with the Voi Stockade Team rushed to the area to find the young elephant with a few other males.  Examination revealed he was weak and must have gone without milk for some time. The calf was rescued and taken to the Voi stockade for recovery and eventual release back into the wild.

An orphan elephant in the company of bulls  The Vet Unit and DSWT Keepers successfully capture the calf

The calf is taken to the Voi Stockades  Feeding on freshly cut greens in the stockade

CASE#6 MANAGEMENT OF AN INJURED ELEPHANT

Date: 25th April 2017

Species: Elephant

Sex: Female

Age: Adult (40 years)

Location: Kalonzo ranch, Taita ranches Tsavo

History

This elephant cow was spotted near Matagesi dam in Kalonzo ranch by KWS rangers manning the Taita ranches surrounding Tsavo National Park. She was walking on three legs as the other appeared broken.

Immobilization and management

The elephant was approached on foot and darted with 18 mgs of Etorphine in a dan inject dart from a Dan-inject dart gun. The drug took effect in 6 minutes and the elephant went down in left lateral recumbency.

The leg was examined closely by palpation and noted to be broken just below the right knee joint. A complete fracture of the right tibia and fibula was diagnosed and poor prognosis given. A decision to euthanize the elephant was reached to prevent further suffering as it was in an area where it would likely be poached. Autopsy confirmed the grave diagnosis. Tusks were removed and handed to KWS security personnel.

An elephant with a broken leg is euthanised

CASE#7 RESCUE OF A LESSER KUDU

Date: 28th April 2017

Species: Lesser Kudu

Sex: Female

Age: Infant (1 wek)

Location: Miasenyi, Tsavo East

History

A report was made by community members in Miasenyi village near the park regarding a lesser Kudu kid that came back to a boma with goats that had gone foraging. The community members alerted the park management who later informed the vet team. The vet team rushed to the area to find the tiny kid in a Manyatta.  The kid was rescued and taken to Voi stockade where it will be cared for.

An orphaned kudu wanders into a boma  An orphaned Kudu

The Kudu is taken to DSWT HQ for hand rearing  The Kudu is taken to DSWT HQ for hand rearing

Other activities undertaken

  • A KWS security dog stationed at Ithumba KWS station was treated for traumatic foot injuries and it recovered well
  • An orphan hippo at DSWT field headquarters in Kaluku near Mtito Andei for anorexia and weakness follow up indicated improvement.

Acknowledgement

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

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