THE MERU MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
REPORT FOR - November 2017

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This report describes the activities of the Meru Veterinary Unit in northern Kenya in November 2017.

We attended to various cases including an oryx which suffered a fracture on its leg in Kalama conservancy and an elephant calf was treated for an abscess in Meru National Park.  AtSolio ranch a zebra foal was immobilized to remove a snare. In Sera conservancy the veterinarian oversaw an elephant drive from the Sera black rhino sanctuary and in Ishaqbini we collared 3 elephants to assist in elephant monitoring in the Tana delta.

1. TREATMENT OF INJURED ORYX IN KALAMA CONSERVANCY

Date: 15/11/17

Species: Oryx

Sex: Female

Age: Adult

Location: Kalama conservancy

History

An adult oryx in Kalama conservancy suffered a fracture on its front leg. This oryx had been hand raised and was restrained physically. Due to the fracture its body condition had deteriorated, however, its appetite was normal.

Adult oryx suffered a fracture

Treatment

Wooden splints and a bandage were applied to support the leg. A long acting antibiotic and multivitamin were administered intramuscularly.

Wooden splint and bandage was applied

v

Oryx expected to make a slow recovery

Prognosis

This oryx is expected to make a slow recovery.

 

2. WOUND TREATMENT IN A JUVENILE ELEPHANT

Date: 20/11/17

Species: Elephant

Sex: Male

Age: Juvenile (< 1 year)

Location: Meru national park

History

We found this juvenile elephant which showed lameness on its right hind leg while on routine patrol within Meru national park. Visual examination showed a swelling and pus discharge distal to the knee joint.

The elephant calf had a clear swelling on right hind leg  Elephant calf with mother and herd

Chemical immobilization

This elephant calf and its dam were in a herd of eight elephants. We first immobilized the mother using Etorphine hydrochloride 14mg into its thigh muscle muscle. As the drug took effect the rest of the herd was chased away by vehicle and the calf restrained physically using ropes for treatment.

Mother was immobilized   Wound with discharge

Examination and treatment

Examination showed an open abscess distal to the right stifle joint. Treatment was by lavage using hydrogen peroxide and application of povidone iodine. Green clay was also applied. Parenteral antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs were given.Anesthesia was reversed using Naltrexone hydrochloride, when the dam showed signs of recovery the calf was released and were later reunited.

The wound was thoroughly cleaned  Green clay applied to assist healing

Mother was revived and the calf released to join her  Baby back with the mother

Prognosis for recovery was considered good.

 

3. SNARE REMOVAL IN A ZEBRA

Date: 29/11/17

Species: Zebra

Sex: Female

Age: Juvenile

Location: Solio ranch

History

The wildlife monitoring team in Solio ranch reported two zebra with wire snares injuries on their legs. We visited the ranch on 29/11/17 to remove the snares and treat the wounds.

Visual examination of a stallion with a snare on the distal aspect of its left front leg showed that the snare had cut through the skin, muscles and tendons causing severe lameness. Due to the extent of injury we recommended euthanasia of this stallion. A foal with a snare on its left forelimb was darted to remove snare and treat wounds.

Zebra with a snare wound

Chemical immobilization

A combination of Etorphine hydrochloride 1mg and Azaperone 30mg in a single 1.5cc dart was administered for immobilization. Induction time was 5 minutes.

Capturing the zebra foal for treatment

Snare removal and treatment

The tight snare had cut through the skin on the distal to the carpal joint causing severe wounds and lameness. The snare was quickly cut and removed. Wounds were washed with dilute hydrogen peroxide to remove dead tissue and povidone iodine and green clay was applied. Systemic antibiotics, multivitamin and ivermectin were administered. Effect of anesthetic drug was reversed by administration of Diprenophine hydrochloride 6mg intravenously through the jugular vein. Two minutes later the foal was reunited with its mother and the rest of the herd.

Cutting the wire snare  Cleaning the wound

Applying green clay to the wound  Releasing the zebra

Zebra foal walking off to rejoin the herd

Prognosis for recovery was considered good.

 

4. SERA CONSERVANCY ELEPHANT DRIVE 

The Meru veterinary unit provided veterinary support to drive out elephants within the rhino sanctuary in Sera to the larger conservancy on 28/11/17.

An elephant count within the sanctuary showed 50 individuals within the sanctuary which was considered higher than its ecological carrying capacity. This drive aimed to forestall vegetation damage within the sanctuary and give priority to endangered black rhinos within the 107 km2 fenced sanctuary.

Elephant drive  Helicopter driving herds through the fence

Helicopter guiding elephant herds through corridors

Prior to the drive, a fixed wing aircraft surveyed the area to identify suitable corridors for the elephants considering proximity to the fence. A 400 meter section of the fence and posts were pulled down.

Subsequently a helicopter drove the elephants in three herds through the corridor. Twenty elephants were removed from the sanctuary during this exercise.

 

5. ELEPHANT COLLARING IN ISHAQBINI CONSERVANCY

On 30/11/17 three elephant bulls were fitted with satellite tracking collars for monitoring in Ishaqbini conservancy along the Tana river.

This is part of a long term program that aimed to monitor elephant movement within the Tana delta and enhance their security through optimal deployment of resources.

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