THE TSAVO MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
REPORT FOR - August 2017

| Return to the Field Report List | View Printable Report |

Introduction

The month of August continued to experience a dry spell with no rain leading to pronounced drought effects observed especially in elephant calves and aged individuals. Human wildlife conflict, poaching attempts and effects of drought are some of the causes of clinical cases handled.

Cases attended included treatment of a speared Elephant bull near Salaita, Tsavo West, treatment of an injured cow in Taita sisal estate Mwatate, rescue of an Elephant calf along Mzima pipeline, treatment of another injured elephant cow along Voi River, examination and release of problematic Leopard, autopsy examination of several drought related elephant carcasses across Tsavo East, de-snaring of a zebra in Borabora sanctuary Mombasa, treatment of a speared elephant bull in Amboseli and treatment of a security dog with trypanosomiasis in Ngulia. Several wildlife trophies were examined and an expert report was produced for prosecution of offenders in court and finally a lion collar was removed near Ziwani and another re-collared in Kuku ranch.

 

1. TREATMENT OF AN ELEPHANT BULL

Date:  6th August 2017

Species: Loxodanta Africana (African Elephant)

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Salaita, Tsavo West

 

History

Report was received from KWS Salaita platoon of an injured Elephant bull that was limping badly near the road. The team rushed to the area and found the bull nearby.

The bull was found limping badly  Darting was carried out on foot

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Foot darting was carried out. Using a Dan inject® dart rifle (Dan-inject APS, SellerupSkovvej, Denmark) the Elephant was darted and was immobilized after 8 minutes and went down on sternal recumbency. He was pushed to left lateral recumbency. There was a deep spear wound on the right forelimb near the elbow joint with pus oozing out and swelling of the joint.

The deep spear wound was oozing pus  Examining the wound

The wound was washed clean with water mixed with hydrogen peroxide, necrotic tissues and pus were removed and the wound doused with tincture of iodine. Green clay was used to cover the wound. An intravenous administration of dexamethasone Hcl was given through the ear vein and the anaesthesia reversed by administration of diprenorphine.

Removing pus from the wound pocket  Antibiotics injected

Wound packed with green clay

Prognosis

Prognosis was guarded to poor due to joint infection.

Reversing the anesthetic

 

2. TREATMENT OF AN ELEPHANT COW

Date:  7th August 2017

Species: Loxodanta Africana (African Elephant)

Sex: Female

Age: Adult

Location: Taita sisal estate, Tsavo East

History

Report was received about an injured Elephant cow that was lame in Taita sisal estate sanctuary. The team rushed to the area and found the cow in a herd of 10 others nearby.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Vehicle darting was carried out. Using a Dan inject® dart rifle (Dan-inject APS, SellerupSkovvej, Denmark) the Elephant was darted and was immobilized after 7 minutes and went down on lateral recumbency. The wound was old on the right hind leg near the knee.

An older wound on the right hind leg  Wound washed clean and necrotic tissue removed

The wound was washed clean with water mixed with hydrogen peroxide, necrotic tissues and pus were removed and the wound doused with tincture of iodine. Green clay was used to cover the wound. Wound was caused by arrow shot.

Iodine applied and antibiotic spray  Wound was packed with green clay to assist healing

Prognosis is good but with poor angulation.

Ambling away after treatment

 

3. RESCUE OF AN ELEPHANT CALF

Sex: Male

Age: 6 months old

Location: Pipeline, Tsavo East

Date: 8th August

History and treatment

A report was made by tour drivers of a calf that was stuck in a muddy water hole and unable to get out along Mzima pipeline near Mrima Hill.

The calf stuck fast in the drying mud hole  Putting the ropes around the calf

The vet team together with the Voi stockade team rushed to the area to find the baby elephant struggling to get out of the muddy pool. He was pulled out and reunited with the mother who was standing nearby.

Heaving the calf out with ropes  The calf's mother standing close by

The calf was reunited with its mother

 

4. EXAMINATION OF ORPHANED LION CUB

Age:            3 years

Date:           8th August 2017

Place:         Pipeline, Tsavo East

Introduction and management

A young lion cub was spotted near Mzima sanctuary appearing very emaciated and weak. The mother had not been seen and thought to have died. Inquiries to Nairobi orphanage indicated that it was full with no additional space. Efforts were made to supplement him with beef until mature or adopted by a related pride in the area. DSWT bought same beef for supplementation but the cub vanished again and was spotted when starved to near death. It succumbed shortly after being rescued and taken to DSWT Voi stockade.

The lion cub on its own  The lion cub succumbed to the drought

 

5. TREATMENT OF AN ELEPHANT COW

Date:  10th August 2017

Sex: Female

Age: Adult

Location: Voi River, Tsavo East

History

Report was received from DSWT helicopter pilot about an injured Elephant cow with pus oozing from the body, sighted along Voi River inside Tsavo East. The team rushed to the area and found the cow in a herd of 10 others nearby.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Vehicle darting was carried out. Using a Dan inject® dart rifle (Dan-inject APS, SellerupSkovvej, Denmark) the Elephant was darted and was immobilized after 6 minutes and went down on lateral recumbency.

Darting the elephant for treatment  The arrow injury caused a wide wound in the abdominal wall

The wound was an arrow wound on the left abdominal wall with swelling. The wound was washed clean by use of water mixed with hydrogen peroxide, necrotic tissues cleaned and the wound doused with tincture of iodine. Green clay was used to cover the wound. Long acting antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs were administered intravenously.

Opening the wound pocket to remove the pus  Wound washed clean with hydrogen peroxide

Wound doused with tincture of iodine  Wound packed with green clay to assist healing

Prognosis

Good

Reversing the anesthetic

 

6. TREATMENT OF AN ELEPHANT BULL 

Date:  10th August 2017

Species: Loxodanta Africana (African Elephant)

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Elerai conservancy, Amboseli

History

Report was received from Big Life rangers of an injured Elephant bull within Elerai conservancy with blood oozing from the wound. The Vet was airlifted by DSWT aeroplane to Amboseli and driven to the area and found the bull nearby.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Using a Dan inject® dart rifle (Dan-inject APS, SellerupSkovvej, Denmark) the elephant was darted and was immobilized after 8 minutes and fell on the injured flank. Ropes tied to a vehicle were used to flip him over to expose the injured flank.

Elephant bull darted for treatment  Ropes were tied so that we could access the injured flank

There was a deep fresh spear wound on the left thoracic area with blood oozing out. The wound was washed clean with water mixed with hydrogen peroxide, necrotic tissues and pus were removed and the wound doused with tincture of iodine. Green clay was used to cover the wound.

Cleaning the wound  Fresh spear wound that was disinfected

An intravenous administration of dexamethasone Hcl was given through the ear vein and the anaesthesia reversed by administration of diprenorphine.

Anti-inflammatory administered   Reversing the anesthetic

Anaesthesia was reversed using Diprenorphine at 3 times the etorphine dose. Prognosis is good and the bull assisted onto his feet.

Recovering from the treatment  Walking away after the treatment

Prognosis is guarded

 

7. EXAMINATION OF A PROBLEMATIC LEOPARD

Animal: Leopard

Species: Pantherapardus

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Maungu, Tsavo East

Date of clinical intervention: 12th August 2017

History and Examination

The leopard was captured after it preyed on livestock near Maungu area just outside Tsavo East National Park. After numerous complaints from the community living in the area a trap was placed to capture the leopard.

The leopard was finally captured and brought to the vet unit for examination and advice.

The captured leopard  The leopard being transported

A decision was made to release the Leopard back to the Park to give it an opportunity in the wild. He was released the same day near Lugards Falls along Galana River deep inside Tsavo East National Park.

The leopard ready for release  The leopard being released near Lugard Falls

 

8. ELEPHANT AUTOPSY EXAMINATION

 Species:     Elephant

Sex:             Female and Calf

Age:            Adult

Date:           13th August 2017

Place:          Kanderi, Tsavo East

Introduction and autopsy

A report was made by KWS rangers of an Elephant cow and calf carcass near Kanderi swamp within Tsavo East National Park. The Tsavo vet unit visited the area to ascertain the cause of death. They were lying about 400 metres from each other.

The carcasses were both lying on the right flank and fresh. There was slight scavenger activity on the carcasses with the tusks still intact. The skin was removed from carcass to expose the whitish subcutis and examine any penetrating wounds but none were found. The carcasses were rolled over to expose the left flank and autopsy undertaken with no signs of external injury observed. Tusks were retrieved and taken for safe custody.

Tusks still intact on the dead mother killed by the drought  The dead calf found 400m from its mother

The cause of death was through natural/drought related. Tsavo east is witnessing increased mortalities due to a long dry spell ravaging the area.

 

9. TREATMENT OF A SNARED ZEBRA

Species:    Common Zebra

Sex:            Female

Age:           Adult

Date:          16th August

Place:         Borabora sanctuary, Mombasa

Introduction

Zebras and other animals had been taken to a newly started Borabora wildlife sanctuary in Diani in South Coast Mombasa. One of the zebras had since been caught in a wire snare, which was long and dragging making movement difficult. She was easily traced by the keepers in the sanctuary.

Immobilization

6 mgs of EtorphineHcl and 60 mgs of Xylazine in a dan inject dart was prepared and loaded into a dart gun. She was approached on foot and darted. She was darted at the rump and went down on the right flank after running for about 5 minutes.

Snare caught on the zebra's leg

Treatment

The wire snare was removed and the cuts on the right rear leg treated with antibiotic spray and iodine. Long acting antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs were administered parenterally. Anaesthetic reversal was done the administration of 18 mgs of Diprenorphine Hcl and 2.5 mgs of AtipemazoleHcl IV through the jugular vein.

The wound was treated with antibiotic spray and iodine  Green clay was applied to assist healing

Prognosis is good

 

10. ELEPHANT AUTOPSY EXAMINATION

Species:     Elephant (3)

Date:           18th August 2017

Place:          Aruba (2) and Sala (1), Tsavo East

Introduction and autopsy

A report was made by DSWT patrol aeroplane of 2 Elephant carcasses near Aruba, Tsavo East, that were at advanced and mid-state of decomposition. The Tsavo vet unit visited the area to ascertain the causes of death. They were lying about 4 kilometres from each other.

The first carcass was heavily decomposed and scavenged and cause of death was difficult to ascertain. Tusks were removed for safe custody. The second carcass had slight scavenger activity but the tusks still intact and removed for safe custody. A third carcass belonging to a 6-year-old Elephant was found along Galana River near Sala gate while the team was patrolling.

It was in advanced level of decomposition and no meaningful autopsy could be undertaken.  Tusks were retrieved and taken for safe custody.

The cause of death was put as natural/drought related in the three cases above. Tsavo East is witnessing increased mortalities due to a long dry spell ravaging the area.

 

11. ELEPHANT CALF AUTOPSY EXAMINATION

Species:     Elephant

Sex:            Female

Age:            Calf

Date:           17th August 2017

Place:          Pundamilia, Tsavo East

Introduction

A report was made by KWS rangers of an Elephant calf carcass within the Tsavo East National Park Pundamilia area. The Tsavo vet unit visited the area to ascertain the cause of death.

The carcass was lying on the left flank and still fresh hence must have died that morning. No external injuries were observed. Autopsy was undertaken and no lesions were seen apart from the poor body condition. Cause of death was put as starvation/drought effects due to the long dry spell within Tsavo.

Elephant calf carcass   Autopsy on the elephant calf

 

12. COLLARING OF A PROBLEMATIC LION

Animal: Lion

Sex: Female and Male

Age: Adults

Location: Ziwani TW and Kuku group ranch

Date of intervention: 21st August

History

Human predator conflict is high in Kuku group ranch.  There is an increase in livestock predation by carnivores in the ranch creating hostilities with the community. Permission was sought by lion guardians for collaring of one lioness with satellite collar for monitoring and conflict mitigation and removing a collar form a male.

Immobilization and collaring

The lion and Lioness were immobilized using 300 mgs of ketamine and 4 mgs of meditomidineHcl. The collar for the male was removed and the female replaced and fitted with a new one.  They were both revived one and half hours later using 2.5 mgs AtipemazoleHcl and monitored until they moved away on their own.

 

13. RESCUE OF A CHEETAH

Species:     Cheetah

Date:            22nd August 2017

Place:          Ndii, Tsavo East

Introduction

The report was made by KWS rangers of a cheetah that was inside SGR Ndii station and could not get out due to wire mesh fencing. He looked emaciated.

Immobilization and rescue

Drugs were prepared comprising of 80 mgs Ketamine and 1 mgs MeditomidineHcl and loaded onto a 1.5 cc Dan inject dart. The cheetah was darted on the thigh muscles and was fully immobilized after 8 minutes. He was removed from the fenced standard gauge railway station and taken to Tsavo East National Park and released after anaesthesia reversal. The cheetah was also supplemented with some beef.

Darting the cheetah for transport   Transporting the cheetah back into the Park

 

14. RESCUE OF AN ELEPHANT CALF

Sex: Female

Age: 1 year old

Location: Sentrim, Tsavo East

Date: 23rd August

History and treatment

A report was made by tourists of one elephant calf that was recumbent and the mother had moved.  There being no mother around and the risk of being killed a decision was made rescue her.

The calf was captured and loaded onto a landcruiser and taken to Voi airstrip where he was stabilized by administration of 50% dextrose and Dexamethasone administered by slow IV and later due to its age the calf was airlifted to Nairobi orphanage.

Elephant calf lying down in the vehicle  The calf was stabalized before being flown to the Nairobi Nursery

 

15. ELEPHANT AUTOPSY EXAMINATION

Sex:             Female and Male

Age:            Adults

Date:           26th and 27th August 2017

Place:          Maungu and Ngutuni, Tsavo East

Introduction and autopsy

A report was made by KWS rangers of elephant carcasses near Maungu and Ngutuni within Tsavo East National Park. The Tsavo vet unit visited the area to ascertain the cause of death.

The carcass was lying on the right flank and at mid-state of decomposition. There was slight scavenger activity on the carcass with the tusks still intact. The skin was removed from carcass to expose the whitish subcutis and examine any penetrating wounds but none were found.

Elephant carcass found in Tsavo East

The carcasses were rolled over to expose the left flank and autopsy undertaken with no signs of external injury observed. Tusks were retrieved and taken for safe custody.

Another victim of the drought in southern Tsavo

The cause of deaths was through natural cause coupled with the poor nutrition/drought.

 

OTHER ACTIVITIES UNDERTAKEN

  • The unit examined several wildlife trophies and produced an expert report to aid in prosecution of the offenders in court.
  • A security dog was also treated for a Trypanosomiasis infection in Ngulia Rhino sanctuary and did respond well to the treatment.

| Return to the Field Report List | View Printable Report


Team Reports:

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust   P.O. Box 15555 Nairobi Kenya

Copyright 1999-2017, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. All Rights Reserved. | Privacy Policy