The Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit
Field Report - May 2013
Return to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
Case 1: Elephant Treatment at Naboisho conservancy
Date: 16th May 2013
Age: Adult (35-40yrs)
The elephant was reported by the conservancy to be injured, lethargic and isolated from the rest of the herd for about two days. They suspected it was injured elsewhere and sought refuge in the conservancy.
On arrival we found the elephant isolated, weak and with visible injuries. We then made a decision to immobilize for further examination.
Immobilization and physical examination
The elephant was immobilized using 15mg Etorphine Hcl remotely delivered through Daninject Darting system. The drugs took effect after 8 minutes and the elephant went down assuming a left lateral recumbency.
On physical examination all vital parameters were within range. Notable findings were as follows:
An open wound on the left forelimb at the level of Carpus, joint capsule was intact.
Suspected poisoned arrow was retrieved from the right tarsus, the joint capsule was also intact.
An open wound at the right carpal joint, joint capsule was also intact.
Retrieved a suspected poisoned arrow from the right shoulder region.
All the wounds were septic.
The wounds were probed and cleaned with copious amount of water. Debridement was also done using hydrogen peroxide and cauterization with lugols iodine. Topical Tetracycline spray was applied to the wounds and green clay applied.
15000mg Amoxicillin antibiotic was given intramuscularly; in addition, 1500mg Flunixin as Flunixin meglumine was given intramuscularly to relieve pain.
48mg Diprenorphine was given through the ear vein. The elephant was assisted by use of ropes to rise up.
Case 2: Post Mortem of an Elephant
Date: 19th May 2013
Age: Sub adult (9-10yrs)
Location: Oldonyiso, Olorte location (Entasikirai)
GPS location: 36M0813394, UTM 9785140.
The Kenya Wildlife Service Security patrol team at Naikara came across this carcass and requested the veterinary team on the ground to carry out post mortem to ascertain possible cause of death. They reported that both tusks were missing.
General examination of the carcass
On examination, the following were noted:
Carcass on left lateral recumbency
Carcass in good body condition, body score of 4.5 on a scale of 1-5 where 1 is poor and 5 perfect.
The carcass was beginning to putrefy, maggots beginning to invest and the carcass was about 3-4 days old
Both tusks were missing, suggestively removed by crude hacking
The trunk was dismembered and thrown about 5 meters away from the carcass
Multiple injuries suspected to have been spear inflicted were variably distributed.
Post mortem Examination
On opening the carcass, the following significant findings were noted:
A penetrating wound was found on the left Para lumbar region deep into the rectum, measuring 2 inches in width and 5 inches deep. Fecal mass was found floating in the peritoneum as a result of this.
A penetrating wound on the left lower thoracic region that went into the pleural cavity with resultant bulging of both the intestines and lungs through the opening.
Two penetrating injuries on the left upper thoracic region. The wounds were posterior-anteriorly directed (oblique) this caused massive hematoma on the pleura as a result of cardiac puncture.
The liver appeared cooked and friable
The spleen was flaccid and beginning to putrefy
All the wounds were suspected to have been caused by a poison-laced spear(s)
This elephant died because of complications caused by the mentioned injuries. Major organs which included the heart, lungs and rectum were involved. There was massive loss of blood as a result of cardiac puncture that could have caused hypovolaemic shock.
There was evidence of gross contamination of the peritoneum by fecal matter as a result of rectal tear.
The cooked appearance and friable consistency of the liver could suggest poisoning delivered by the spear
The missing tusks, multiple sharp object inflicted injuries highly suggest human involvement in the death of this elephant.
Case 3: Post mortem
Date: 20th May 2013
Age: Adult (38-40yrs)
Location: Olkinyei conservancy
GPS: 36M0772272, UTM9851213
A post mortem examination was requested by the Kenya Wildlife Service Narok station after their patrol team came across this carcass.
General examination of the carcass
Both tusks were missing.
Carcass had putrefied and was more than 5 days old.
The carcass was not intact and the viscera could not be traced presumably eaten by scavengers. The body parts were dismembered and scattered around.
State of the carcass could not reveal the possible cause(s) of death.
Case 4: Treatment of an injured lion
Date: 21st May2013
Location: Musiara gate
GPS Location: 36M0729487, UTM9860048
The Governors camp management reported a lion which had a recurrent wound on the face, just above the right eye. This lion is a member of the famous Mara marsh pride. He is nick-named scar face because of a permanent scar on its face. This scar occasionally gets abrassed especially after a fight with other lions. This wound has been treated on several occasions before.
On general examination, the lion was in good body condition having fed overnight on a buffalo they killed with other pride members. The wound was obviously discernible from a distance.
Immobilization and physical examination
A combination of 4mg medetomidine Hcl and 290mg of ketamine Hcl was delivered remotely using Daninject darting system. It took 12minutes for full effect of the drug to be achieved. A top up of 1mg medetomidine Hcl and 100mg ketamine Hcl was injected intramuscularly by hand. Eye ointment was applied in both eyes to prevent the cornea from
drying and a blind fold used.
On physical examination, the lion was in good body condition and the vital parameters were within range. An old healing wound suspected to have been refreshed by a fight with other lions was observed. Additional scratch wounds were observed on the lower right side of the face.
The wounds were clean.
The wounds were cleaned with surgical spirit and Lugols iodine applied. Oxytetracycline wound spray was administered topically.
3000Mg Amoxicillin antibiotic was given intramuscularly. In addition, 10mg dexamethasone Hcl was given intramuscularly.
15mg Atipamizole Hcl injected intramuscularly one hour after the last ketamine dose. The lion recovered smoothly after five minutes.
Case 5: Collection of blood for serum collection
A healthy adult Male elephant approximately 30yrs was identified within Mara conservancy near Keekorok lodge. This was our candidate for blood collection. The blood is to be used for serum extraction. The serum will be used to boost immunity of elephant orphans. Ten pints of whole blood was collected via ear vein.
15mg Etorphine Hcl was administered using Daninject system. It took eight minutes for the drug to take effect. The elephant assumed a left lateral recumbency.
48mg Diprenorphine Hcl was given through ear vein after blood collection. The whole process took twenty minutes and it was successful.
Case 6: Treatment of an Elephant
Date: 24th may, 2013
Location: Sekenani gate
The Masai Mara county council security patrol team reported to have seen a wounded elephant amongst a herd that recently came into the park from an unknown location. It was suspected to have come with the injury.
The elephant was in good body condition but was isolated from the rest of the herd. There was a swelling on the right flank with mild purulent discharge.
Immobilization and examination
16mg Etorphine Hcl and 1500 IU of Hyalase was delivered through Daninject system. The drug took effect after eight minutes and the elephant assumed a left lateral recumbency.
On physical examination, vital parameters were within range. There was a swelling on the right flank with slight purulent discharge through a small opening. The opening was extended ventrally to expose the contents of the swelling. This revealed an organized abscess whose contents had partially been expunged. The capsule was in-situ with a small pocket of pus
The capsule was excised with its contents and copious amounts of water used to clean the wound. Hydrogen peroxide was also applied to debride and Lugols iodine used to disinfect. Topical tetracycline wound spray was used.
15000mg Amoxicillin antibiotic was given intramuscularly and 1500mg Flunixin meglumine injected intramuscularly to relieve pain.
48mg Diprenorphine Hcl was given through the ear vein.
Case no 7: Post mortem
Date: 25th May 2013
Location: Naishi, Aitong
GPS: 36M0755826, UTM9870690
Kenya Wildlife Service patrol team with the Mara Elephant Project scouts came across this carcass on their routine patrol. They then requested post mortem services from the resident veterinarian to ascertain the probable cause of death.
On examination of the carcass, the following findings were noted:
The Elephant was a young adult of between 20-25years.
The carcass was putrefied with massive maggot infestation; approximate age of the carcass was 6-8 days old.
Both tusks were missing.
Parts of the carcass were shrewn all over by scavengers.
Of importance was a deep penetrating wound inflicted by sharp object on the anterior upper thoracic region. This was slightly behind the right scapula and it went through the intercostal space right into the pleura. The depth of the wound was about ten inches and two and a half inches wide.
This wound was probably caused by spearing
The probable cause of death was traumatic injuries to vital organs located in the thoracic region. These include: the heart, lungs and major blood vessels.
The missing tusks and sharp object inflicted injury highly suggest human involvement in the death of this elephant.
During the month, two orphans, a Zebra foal and a Buffalo calf were rescued. Both were less than two weeks old. Their mothers were said to have been killed by Lions.
They were both referred to Nairobi Animal Orphanage for fostering.
Report by: Dr. Campaign Limo