The Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit
Field Report - April 2013
Return to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
The Month of April witnessed a drastic reduction of cases reported to the unit compared to the month of March and this was attributed to the onset of long rains that have pounded the ecosystem leading to increased forage and water availability. Apart from a rhino and an elephant case that were euthanized due to untreatable injuries, there were few other cases handled. It also took longer time to search for the injured animals due to impassable rain damaged roads and thick vegetation growths.
Treatment of an orphan Shimba injured by a lion at Voi stockade, 12th April.
The orphan together with other orphans being raised at the Voi stockade were attacked and injured by a lions on a rainy evening near the stockade. One orphan christened shimba sustained serious injuries on the face and body. He was treated earlier but required repeat treatment as the wounds were turning septic. He was immobilized using 4 mgs of etorphine and the wound cleaned thoroughly by use of water mixed in hydrogen peroxide, dead tissues removed and hydrogen peroxide and oxytetracycline spray applied. The wounds on the face and inquinal area were most severe.
60 CC of long acting amoxicillin, 20 cc of dexamethasone and multivitamins were administered. A final cover of green clay was applied to all the wounds.
With massive injuries that affected the facial bone, Shimba might require another and final treatment to assure him of good health.
Examination of a sick Impala, Tsavo East 15th April
The young Impala was brought into the unit exhibiting nervous signs and unable to stand up. The animal condition also appeared weak and poor.
Blood samples were taken for microscopy but nothing was seen. Antibiotic cover and multivitamins were administered. It later succumbed the same day.
Search and management of a snared Rhino in Mukururo, Chyulu National Park, April 2013.
Chyulu National Park is home to some of the last original populations of black Rhinos outside fenced sanctuaries. A male rhino was observed on photos taken on 15th March 2013 by a camera trap pulling a wire snare tightly wound around his neck and reported on 16th March 2013. The case was reported to the KWS Area Vet and a search was conducted by KWS and Big life teams based at Mukururo, Chyulu National Park.
The search for the rhino continued for a non-stop 30 days with teams from the big life, KWS and assistance from the DSWT in hiring of a helicopter. On 19th April the rhino was found and immobilized but due to extensive damage caused by the snare on the neck muscles, he was euthanized. The wire snare had cut through the neck muscles to the cervical vertebrae.
Immobilization and euthanasia of an injured elephant cow in Mwaluganje sanctuary, Shimba hills. 24th April.
Shimba hills National Park continues to experience elephant injuries mainly through snaring. The female cow with a grown up calf was spotted in a water hole limping and was immobilized using 16 mgs of etorphine propelled in a dan inject dart system.
She went down in 5 minutes.
The left front limb was necrotic from the knee downwards and the extremities were cold and cyanotic. Further examination revealed a dead limb from the knee downwards. The case was finally declared untreatable and euthanized.
The Tsavo ecosystem is now lush green and conflict related cases are expected to reduce while poaching cases are thought to increase due to increased movement of elephants to areas where rainfall is heavy. The heavy vegetation growth also tends to aid poachers in concealing their activities from security personnel.
The unit would like to thank its sponsors ViER PFOTEN through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) for the continued support to the unit. We also thank Kenya Wildlife Service through the Head veterinary and capture services department and the senior assistant director Tsavo conservation area.
Report by: Jeremiah Poghon