THE MARA MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
REPORT FOR - November 2017

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The conservation area has experienced good rains for a good period now with good forage and water for wildlife. Cases of human wildlife conflict are still being reported with a lion treated after being speared. An arrow head was retrieved from a severely limping elephant in Mara Triangle among other cases. All were given good prognoses.

The following were cases handled during the period;

1. SPEARED LION

Date: 5th November 2017

Species: African lion

Sex: Male

Location: Masai Mara National Reserve

History

This lion was seen with a spear sticking out of his face slightly below the right eye by Masai Mara National Reserve rangers. They called the veterinary unit for help. His body condition looked good and he appeared to have recently fed.

Lion in the bushes  Lion darted for treatment

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Restraint was achieved chemically by use of a combination of 5.2mgs medetomidine hydrochloride and 250mgs ketamine delivered through a 3mldaninjectdart.Darting was done from a vehicle.

He was fully anaesthetised in twelve minutes. After putting him in a more comfortable position and posture, the spear which was firmly attached below the right eye was gently pulled out. Luckily none of the eye structures were damaged. Part of the head of the spear accessed the nasal cavity with resultant bleeding from the right nose. The nostrils were cleared to facilitate easier breathing. The resultant wound was thoroughly cleaned and disinfected with tincture of iodine. The bleeders were ligated and the wound closed by stitching. Amoxicillin antibiotics were given intramuscularly with ivermectin parasiticide being administered subcutaneously.

Examining the site of the wound  The wound where the spear was

Wound was disinfected and stitched

Reversal

Achieved by slow intravenous administration of yohimbine through the saphenous vein. He woke up in three minutes and retreated to the small thicket.

Lion recovering from treatment

Prognosis

Good.

 

2. INJURED ELEPHANT

Date: 6th November 2017

Species: African elephant

Age: Young adult

Sex: Male

Location: Mara Triangle Conservancy

History

This elephant was seen alone and having difficulties walking by Mara Triangle Conservancy rangers. They called the mobile veterinary unit for assessment.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Restraint was achieved chemically by use of 15mgs etorphine hydrochloride delivered through a 1.5mldaninjectdart.Darting was done on foot. He did not move far after being darted and was overwhelmed by the drugs eight minutes after darting having moved less than two hundred metres.

Young elephant bull with necrotic wound  The wound was affecting his walking

Examination revealed a necrotic wound which was more than one week old on the upper lateral side of his left hind leg near the knee. The wound had been infested with maggots. Further probing of the wound yielded an arrowhead which was deep seated. The damages caused at the point of lodging suggested this was a poisoned arrow. All the necrotic tissues were debrided with the maggots being removed manually.

Probing the wound  Removing an arrow head embedded in the wound

Applying green clay to the wound  Injected with an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory

This debridement was done with the help of hydrogen peroxide to remove as much of dead tissue as possible. Tincture of iodine was also applied as a disinfectant after rinsing with clean water. This wound was then packed with green clay to absorb toxins and hasten healing.Other treatments given include parenteral administration of Amoxicillin antibiotic and flunixin meglumine anti-inflammatory.

Reversal

Done by use of 42mgs diprenorphine hydrochloride delivered through a prominent ear vein. He woke up four minutes after reversal and moved away.

Recovering from the anesthetic  Walking away

Prognosis

Good.

 

3. Speared bull elephant at Olarro

Date: 10th November 2017

Species: African elephant

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Olarro Conservancy

History

This big bull was seen with a discharging wound on his left flank by rangers of Olarro conservancy. The management of the conservancy requested our intervention.

General observation

This bull was found in company of another three equally big bulls. Save for the injured one, all were in good body condition.

Elephant bull had a discharging wound on his left flank

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Restraint was achieved by use of 16mgs etorphine hydrochloride delivered through a 3mldaninject dart.

Given that the elephant was in a thick bush and with difficult terrain, darting was only feasible by use of a helicopter. The bulls were pushed to a relatively open area with better terrain before being darted.After ten minutes, this bull was fully narcotized and assumed right lateral recumbency. Examination revealed a spear inflicted wound on his left flank discharging straw coloured fluid. The injury could have been inflicted not more than 24hours earlier. The wound was probed for any foreign body which was negative. Clean water was used to clean the wound with tincture of iodine being applied as a disinfectant. Green clay was then packed to prevent sepsis. This elephant in addition received amoxicillin antibiotic and flunixin meglumine anti-inflammatory all delivered intramuscularly.

Probing the wound for a foreign body  Iodine applied as a disinfectant

Wound packed with green clay

Reversal

Achieved by administration of 42mgs diprenorphine intravenously through a prominent ear vein. He rose up in three minutes to join his colleagues.

Bull walking away after treatment

 

4. INJURED LIONESS

Date: 10th November 2017

Species: African lion

Sex: Female

Age: Adult

Location: Masai Mara National Reserve (OlkejuRonkai area)

History

This lioness was seen with an injured tail by Matira camp guides while on their game drive. They immediately notified the mobile veterinary unit for assistance.

General observation

This lioness in company of her cubs and another adult female was seen in a small thicket. She looked emaciated with a dry wound proximally and on the dorsal surface of her tail. A decision to immobilize her for further examination and treatment was made.

Lioness lying in the shade  Injury to her tail

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Restraint was achieved chemically by use of a combination of 4.8mgs medetomidine and 240mgs ketamine hydrochloride delivered through a 3mldaninjectdart.Darting was done from a vehicle.

She was fully anaesthetised in ten minutes upon where she was placed in a comfortable position under a shade.

Examination revealed the injuries sustained were from a fight with other lions. The wounds appeared relatively clean. Clean water was used to remove dirt within the wound and tincture of iodine applied as a disinfectant. Oxytetracycline spray was also put topically.This lioness received parenteral administration of amoxicillin antibiotic which was given intramuscularly to prevent development of sepsis.

Disinfecting the wounds  Green clay applied to aid healing

Reversal

Achieved by intravenous administration of yohimbine give through femoral vein. She woke up to join the other pride members within four minutes.

Recovering from the anesthetic  Walking away after treatment

Prognosis

Good.

 

5. MAU FOREST ELEPHANT COLLARING

Date: 16th November 2017

Species: African elephant

Sex: Female

Age: Adult

Location: Mau Forest

History

There were concerns that a number of elephants who stay in Mau forest have been doing crop raids in nearby villages at night. Scanty information is available on their actual number and distribution within that forest ecosystem.

KWS together with Mara Elephant Project and Narok county government came together and created an action plan with a view of knowing the number and distribution of this elephant population and find a way of monitoring their movements. An aerial recce revealed there was a big number of elephants within this forest which many people had underestimated.One group consisting of over fifty elephants was spotted and a decision to deploy a satellite/GSM collar on one of the females was arrived at. This was meant to ease the monitoring process.

Helicopter used for darting

Immobilization and collar deployment

Due to terrain challenges, helicopter was used during darting. She was immobilized with 15mgs etorphine hydrochloride delivered through a 1.5mldaninjectdart.It took seven minutes for the drugs to take full effect upon where she assumed right lateral recumbency. Examination during collar deployment revealed she was in good shape with no injuries.The collar was deployed and its soundness confirmed before the elephant was reversed.

Applying the elephant collar

Reversal

Done by use of 42mgs diprenorphine hydrochloride delivered intravenously through a prominent ear vein. She was up in three minutes and went to join the rest of the herd.

 

6. SNARED ZEBRA

Date: 17th November 2017

Species: Common zebra

Age: Adult

Sex: Male

Location: Olkinyei conservancy

History

This zebra was spotted moving with difficulty dragging along a snare firmly attached to his left foreleg by Olkinyei conservancy management. They called the unit for intervention.

Zebra with a snare around the left foreleg

Immobilization, examination and treatment.

He was immobilised by use of a combination of 5mgs etorphine hydrochloride and 50mgs azaperone delivered through a 1.5mldaninjectdart.Darting being carried out from a vehicle.It took four minutes for the drugs to take effect and was recumbent a minute later. Quick examination revealed a tight plain wire snare round his fetlock join creating a wound around the area. The wound appeared slightly septic. Luckily no tendon was severed. This snare was cut loose and wound treated by first debriding with help of dilute hydrogen peroxide, then rinsing with clean water before tincture of iodine being applied as a disinfectant. Oxytetracycline antibiotic was also applied topically.

Snare wound  Cutting the wire snare off

Dilute hydrogen peroxide used to clean the wound  Iodine and green clay applied to the wound

Other treatments included intramuscular administration of 3000mgs amoxicillin antibiotic and 1000mgsflunixin meglumine anti-inflammatory.

Reversal

Achieved by use of 18mgs diprenorphine hydrochloride delivered intravenously through the jugular vein. He woke up in two minutes to join the rest of the herd.

Prognosis

Good.

 

7. ELEPHANT CALF RESCUE

Date: 19th November 2017

Species: African elephant

Sex: Female

Age: Approximately 5 days old.

Area: Masai Mara National Reserve (OlkejuRonkai area)

History

This baby elephant was spotted by a team of tourists who included members of ‘Friends of Masai Mara Association’ lying down with the mother frantically trying to pull her up. After attempting for several hours in vain, the mother gave up and left her alone. The team called the mobile veterinary unit and the Mara Reserve Management for help.

Baby found in a collapsed state and the mother had given up hope  Umbilical stump appeared swollen and septic

Examination, treatment and way forward

This baby was found lying alone prostrate with the mother gone away. The mother was spotted about a kilometre from this baby having given up on her and moving away.On examination, this baby appeared dehydrated, hungry with moderate fever. The umbilical stump appeared swollen and septic. There were signs of acute omphalitis with systemic involvement. There was also partial right hip subluxation thought to have been caused by her mother trying to pull her up.She was doused with water to cool her, given anti-inflammatories intravenously and antibiotics intramuscularly. She was also given Hartman’s (polyionic ringer’s lactate) solution drip to rehydrate her. When she gained strength, she was made to stand and more water was given orally. She was able to move on her own and a decision had to be made on the next course of action. With the chances of survival in the wild at this state being considered slim, the team decided she be sent to DSWT elephant orphanage in Nairobi for further fostering. Since it was getting late, she had an overnight stay at the KWS Mara research station before being flown to Nairobi first thing in the morning.

This calf was very small indeed  Given water orally

The little calf covered with a blanket before being flown to the Nairobi Nursery

 

8. Speared Bull Elephant

Date: 21st November 2017

Species: African elephant

Age: Young Adult

Sex: Male

Location: Olarro conservancy

History

Olarro conservancy management called the unit to report an elephant moving with difficulty having a wound on his right hind leg.It became difficult to assess this elephant on ground because he was in a bushy hill inaccessible by vehicle and difficult on foot. After waiting hoping that he would come down for assessment, he did not and the management sought the services of a helicopter to drive him down to the open scrubland.From the air, a wound could be seen on his right hip and another one on the right elbow. All as a result of spearing. He was moving along with another young bull of the same age.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

After pushing him for some distance down the hill into a relatively open area, he was darted with 13mgs etorphine in a 1.5mldaninject dart from air.It took seven minutes for the drugs to take full effect with this young bull assuming right lateral recumbency. He had to be flipped over for better examination of the injuries. Both injuries were thought to have been caused by spearing carried out at the same time. The wounds were less than a week old and were relatively clean.Hydrogen peroxide was used for debridement, clean water for rinsing and tincture of iodine as a disinfectant. Both wounds were then packed with green clay for toxin absorption and quick healing.

The elephant bull had multiple spear wounds  Cleaning and disinfecting the wounds

Washing the leg wound  Green clay was applied to aid healing

Additional treatments include parenteral administration of amoxicillin antibiotics and flunixin meglumine anti-inflammatory.

Reversal

Done by use of 36mgs diprenorphine delivered intravenously through the ear vein. He rose up in four minutes to join his colleague.

Recovering from the anesthetic  Walking away after treatment

Prognosis

Good.

 

9. Elephant bull treatment and collaring

Date: 22nd November 2017

Species: African elephant

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Mau Forest.

History

This bull is one of the four big bulls forming part of the little-known herds of Mau known for constant crop raiding. During recent crop raids, he was shot with an arrow on his front right leg. After being tracked for some time by the KWS and Mara elephant project rangers, he was found deep in the forest with signs of pain while walking. The mobile veterinary team was informed and requested to intervene.Mau forest being thick, it was not easy to see this elephant from the ground as accessibility posed a lot of challenge. Quick recce from the air was done and this big bull was seen moving slowly in the forest some distance from the edge. His right front leg was slightly swollen.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Immobilization was achieved by use of 17mgs etorphine hydrochloride delivered through a 3mldaninjectdart.Darting was carried out from a helicopter. This big bull was then pushed slowly towards the edge of the forest as the drugs were taking effect. The drugs took full effect after ten minutes by which time he was a few hundred metres from the forest edge and ground team was guided into where he was from the air. He assumed left lateral recumbency position and this made easy for the team to examine the affected limb. He had a relatively fresh arrow inflicted injury on the anterior surface of his right forelimb with slight swelling of this limb. No foreign body was detected on probing and the wound was cleaned with copious amount of water, disinfected with tincture of iodine and infused with cloxacillin ointment antibiotic. Other treatments instituted include intramuscular administration of 30000mgs amoxicillin antibiotic and 5000mgs flunixin meglumine anti-inflammatory.The team also felt that this was one of the right candidates to collar given the uniqueness of the eco-system and their crop raiding habit. This will help in their monitoring. A GSM/Satellite collar was deployed, its soundness confirmed before being reversed.

Examining the wounds  After testing the collar the anesthetic was reversed

Reversal

This was done by use of 42mgs diprenorphine hydrochloride delivered through a prominent ear vein. He woke up four minutes after reversal and retreated deeper into the forest.

Prognosis

This was not a poisoned arrow and this bull is expected to make a full recovery.

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