THE TSAVO MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
REPORT FOR - August 2005

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This report was prepared early before the end of the month to allow the Unit participate actively in the translocation of 100 elephants from the Shimba Hills national reserve in Kwale District to the northern part of Tsavo East national park. The translocation is scheduled to start on the 22nd and is estimated to take three weeks. The activities for August started on the ninth with the report of an 18-month-old elephant calf at Taita ranch. The calf had an injury on the leg from a poisoned arrow. The calf was found in the bush while down and unable to walk by the ranch game scouts. They carried it in an open pick-up to a relatively open area before they contacted the Unit.

The calf is very weak and easy to restrain  The calf is tended to by the vet unit

Dr. Ndeereh tries to clean the calf's wound

On arrival at the site, we called the Burra de-snaring team to come and assist us ferry it to the Voi elephant rehabilitation unit where we thought we could be able to manage the problem better and monitor the progress closely. Unfortunately, by the time they arrived, the condition had deteriorated to the point where it could not be saved. The breathing had become very low and the temperature subnormal and it could no longer respond to any stimuli. Death was imminent and we put it down with 20% Pentobarbitone Sodium (Euthatal®). The injury was just a few days old.

The infected wound between the vets fingers  A close up of the wound caused by the poisoned arrow

The calf is humanely euthanised to prevent further suffering

The Unit then assisted the Rhino Unit of KWS headquarters under the request of the Veterinary Unit to ear notch female sub-adult black rhinos in Ngulia sanctuary in Tsavo West national park.

The vet unit helping the KWS with the ear notching of the Rhinos in Tsavo West National Park

A rhino in Tsavo West National Park about to be ear notched

The purpose of the ear notching, each rhino with a unique pattern provided by the Rhino Unit, is to help in the monitoring and identification of the animals estimated to number about 60 in the sanctuary. Females were targeted so that their future young could be identified from their mothers. The objective was to ear notch ten animals but the thick bushes made it extremely difficult to achieve the target.

One of the rhinos being ear notched in the Tsavo West Rhino Sanctuary  Dr. Ndeereh ear notching in Tsavo West Rhino Sanctuary

Only seven were captured. The exercise was undertaken between 10th and 12th together with the capture personnel from Nairobi. We had three snare cases this month. One was of a female impala at the Voi gate in Tsavo East on the 15th.

Getting ready to remove the snare from around the Impala's neck  A close up of the Impala with the snare

The snare is cut and removed

The others were a male giraffe at Taita Hills Sanctuary (Salt Lick)

The immobilised snared giraffe  The giraffe being tended to by the vet unit

A close up of the snare around the giraffes neck  The giraffe gets to its feet once the snare has been removed

and a lioness at Voi Wildlife lodge both on the 18th. All the snares were on the neck and loose without any inflicted injuries.

The rest of the pride would not leave the female after she had been darted  We managed to remove the snare by using the car to shield her from the pride

Giving the lioness the revival drug  A close up of the loose snare around the lionesses's neck

The main challenge was with the lioness as it was in a pride of 16 lionesses and cubs which refused to leave it after immobilisation.

The lioness wakes up  The rest of the pride crowd around the lioness once she awakens

When all efforts to drive them away failed, we got off the snare and revived the animal while shielded from its pride members by the vehicle.

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