THE TSAVO MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
REPORT FOR - July 2006

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In the June report, one activity was inadvertently not reported. This was of a lioness trapped at the KARI farm near Tsavo East for stock raiding. We immobilised it to enable treatment of some lacerations sustained in the trap. These were however not serious; they were topically treated and an antibiotic injection was given. Examination revealed that two of its canines were broken and other teeth worn out due to age.

Trapped lioness found to have two broken teeth

The left eye had cataract and was blind.

trapped lioness

We collared it in order to assist monitor its movements after release because we suspected it might try to walk back to the farm where several other lions have been trapped previously. It was released past Thabanguji in the Northern area almost 70 Km from the capture site. Within three weeks however, it had walked back to the farm and a decision to put it down was. On the 12th of this month, we treated a female elephant in Amboseli with a spear wound on the lower left hind leg. The wound was slightly infected and the animal was walking with a slight limp. We received the report on the 11th when we travelled to Amboseli and arrived there in the afternoon only to find that the elephant with its two calves had entered into one of the swamps. We called off the operation after it became dark with the family still deep inside the swamp. We found the family at the edge of the swamp the next day but when we tried to drive it further away to enable darting, the family escaped into a thicket where we could not pursue it. After waiting in vain for several hours for it to come out, we called rangers who flushed it out using blank cartridges.

The wounded mother with her two calvs are driven from the marsh

The wounded mother is darted and the calvs wait at distance

The spear wound has penetrated deep  The wound is cleaned and treated

We thereafter administered treatment successfully and rejoined it with its two calves.

The elephants gets back on to her feet after the reivial drug is administered

Reports from the Elephant Research Team say they saw the elephant on the 30th fully recovered. On the 14th, we were requested to assist establish the death of two elephants at Sobo and Balgunda areas in Tsavo East sighted during routine aerial patrols. We however found the carcasses were completely decomposed and only bones were scattered on the sites. The tusks in both were present.

dead elephants tusks found intact

dead elephants tusks still intact  dead elephant remains

The team with daed elephant remains

The next three cases were on the 19th.

Tiny calf wounded in amongst its family

The first was of a three months elephant calf with a suspected arrow injury on left hind leg that was heavily infected. The calf was walking with a marked limp and pus could be seen discharging from far.

The calf is darted

The family was very protective and could not leave it behind after we darted it. we had to dart the mother too in order to drive the rest of the family members away.

The Matriach remains behind, very portective of the calf and his mother  The herd are driven away from the operation

The calfs mother lies on her brisket

The team ensures the mother is lying in a satisfactory position  The David Sheldrick Mobile Vet Unit  funded by Vier Photen treats the calf's injury

The calf's wound is from a poisoned arrow and is heavily infected.  The Vet Unit team treat the wound

The Vet Unit treating the  baby calf  After finishing the treatment, the mother and baby wake up after being given the revival drug

The calf and mother leave the scene with the herd who waited protectively after leaving the scene

After treatment, both were revived simultaneously. The family was still being searched to assess progress at the time of preparing this report. The search will continue. The other case on the 19th was of a male hyena with deep bite/fight wounds all over the body.

The Hyena is put down

Parts of the pelvic bone and the lumbar vertebrae were fractured rendering it unable to support itself with the hindquarters. Bone fragments were sticking out of the bite wounds, which were also infected. Prognosis for recovery was poor and we euthanased it with intravenous Euthatal® after immobilising it with Etorphine and xylazine.

The alive, but badly injured Hyena is darted  Dr Ndeereh inspects the injury

Next Voi Safari Lodge called after they sighted a bull with an arrowhead lodged on its right abdomen at their water hole. Unfortunately, this report arrived three hours after the sighting when the bull had already left the water hole. We searched for it in the neighbourhood and found it heading towards Irima area in the company of two other bulls and a family of five.

The wounded bull is found with a group of other young bulls

We immobilised it and administered treatment successfully.

The bull is darted and falls on his side as the drug takes effect  The arrow head was still buried in the elephant

The injury was infected but there was no abdominal penetration as the arrow entered obliquely.

The arrow is removed and the wound treated  The mobile vet unit treats the injury

Dr Ndeereh treats the arrow  wound  The bull gets back on to his feet after the revivial is administered

The bull is back on his feet with an X sparyed on his rear so that he can be monitored

The bull was sighted two days after treatment at the Lodge’s water hole. The Unit assisted to move three waterbucks (a male and two females)

Translocation of female Waterbuck

and six Oryx (two males and four females) donated by Bamburi’s Haller Park to Ndara ranch in Voi.

Translocation of Oryx

Translocation of Oryx

The Oryx are habituated and were driven through a crush into a waiting truck. They were very calm and no tranquillisation was required during transport to Ndara ranch about 150 Km away. The waterbucks are semi-habituated but they could not be captured like the Oryx. They were immobilised with Etorphine and xylazine, loaded into a transport truck and revived. Before the revival drugs were injected, each was given 120mg of Azaperone to calm them during transport. The animals arrived at the release site without any problems on the way. Bamburi has also given six elands to Ndara ranch. These will be moved at a latter date. Lastly in July we were called to Salt Lick to have a look at a lion with an injury on the right hind leg caused by a snare.

The injured lion

We found the injury not serious to warrant intervention, only the top layer of the skin (Epithelium) was removed as the lion struggled to release itself from the snare. The rest of the skin layers were intact.

Close up of the wound caused by a snare

There was no snare. The lion could bear its full weight on the leg, which had a slight limp. No complications were expected to develop but the sanctuary management will monitor it. The Mobile Veterinary Unit operated by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust working with The Kenyan Wildlife Service and funded by Vier Pfoten

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