EASTERN CONSERVATION AREA VETERINARY UNIT MONTHLY REPORT MAY 2015
Report by: Bernard Rono Veterinary Officer
This report describes activities of Meru MVU in May 2015. With sustained rainfall in April in Northern Kenya there was plenty of browse and pasture in wildlife habitats. Activities carried out by the unit include a black rhino translocation program aimed at re-introducing a black rhino population in Sera conservancy, Samburu county after a 30 year absence from this area. Two elephant calves were rescued in Elkarama and Meru national park and relocated to the DSWT orphanage.
We would like to acknowledge the support provided by Dr. Fred Ochieng’ who was facilitated by DSWT SkyVet program in treatment and rescue of an injured elephant calf in Meru national park.
CASE#1 DESNARING A GIRAFFE
Date: 5th May 2015
Species: Reticulated Giraffe
Location: Bouralghy Giraffe Sanctuary
The warden in charge of Garissa county reported on 3rd May that a giraffe in Bouralghy sanctuary showed severe lameness. He requested urgent intervention to remove a snare around its right forelimb. This giraffe was immobilized for treatment on 5th May.
Immobilization, examination and treatment
The giraffe was immobilized with a combination of Etorphine Hydrochloride 12mg and Xylazine Hydrochloride 30mg in a single 1.5cc DanInject dart from a vehicle with the dart placed into the gluteal muscles. Induction time was 6 minutes then this giraffe was carefully roped to lateral recumbency.
Examination showed a nylon snare around its fetlock joint on the right forelimb. The snare was embedded in the soft tissue around the joint causing severe infected wounds. The snare was cut using a scalpel blade and the wounds scrubbed with water and antiseptic and debrided using Hydrogen Peroxide. Povidone iodine and green clay was applied and then Betamox trihydrate injected intramuscularly.
To reverse the effect of anesthesia 36mg Diprenophine Hydrochloride with 10mg Antisedan was injected intravenously through the jugular vein.
This animal is expected to recover within the next few days.
CASE#2 RESCUE OF AN ELEPHANT CALF
Date: 14th May 2015
Age: Infant – 1 years
Location: Ol Daiga Ranch, Laikipia
This calf was reported to have been orphaned when its mother died of natural causes. When the team visited the ranch, the calf had joined a big group of elephants in a forest. An attempt to capture it was not successful due to aggression by the elephant herd and unfavorable forest terrain.
Scouts were asked to monitor the calf and report if it is abandoned by this group of elephants.
CASE#3 RESCUE OF AN ELEPHANT CALF
Date: 15th May 2015
Age: Infant – 2.5 years
Location: El Karama Ranch, Laikipia
This elephant calf was reported to have been abandoned by its family for a period of 10 days in El Karama ranch. Elephant herds visited this area frequently but it did not integrate into any of the herds. Although this calf was in good body condition due to plenty of foliage in the area it was vulnerable to predation by lions hence there was an urgent need to rescue it for nurture in an orphanage.
This calf was captured in the thickets and restrained using ropes. Azaperone 40mg was administered intramuscularly for sedation during transportation. The calf was transported safely to the DSWT orphanage in Nairobi and is doing well. The calf has been named Elkerama.
CASE#4 TRANSLOCATION OF BLACK RHINOS TO SERA CONSERVANCY
Date: 17th – 24th May 2015
Species: Black Rhino - 14
Location: Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
The aim of this activity was to reintroduce a black rhino population in Sera wildlife conservancy, a community owned property in Samburu county. Black rhinos were extirpated in this habitat 30 years ago through poaching.
Ten eastern black rhinos were captured in Lewa wildlife conservancy (LWC) while four individuals were captured in Lake Nakuru national park. The exercise was conducted on 17th to 24th May 2015.
Captured black rhinos were fitted with GSM/VHF transmitters in the horn for monitoring individuals in their new habitat.
CASE#5 BLACK RHINO POST MORTEM EXAMINATION
Date: 25th May 2015
Species: Black Rhino
Location: Sera Wildlife Sanctuary
Two male black rhinos (identified as Sero and Syra) died in Sera conservancy on 25th May 2015. These rhinos had been translocated from Lewa conservancy on 19th and 20th May.
Sero was reported to have shown tenesmus, grunting, dyspnoea and severe dehydration. Rectal palpation revealed hard fecal balls in the rectum. He was treated for obstructive colic with a mineral oil enema on 25th May but died a few hours later.
Necropsy showed hemorrhages in the serosa of the stomach, small and large intestines. The colon was significantly distended with feed and gas. Palpation revealed large and hard masses of compacted feed. Hard pitting round fecal balls were found on the rectum. This indicated obstructive gastrointestinal stasis.
General inspection of the carcass showed sunken eyeballs and blood oozing from the left nostril. On opening the carcass, there were hemorrhages in the peritoneum and congestion in colon mucosa. There were compacted, dry digesta in the colon.
Necropsy findings in these carcasses are consistent with obstructive colic secondary to acute dehydration. These two rhinos died four days post translocation.
Dehydration developed as a result of higher ambient temperatures in the recipient site (Sera) and difficulty in access to water sources in a new environment. Dry feed sources in the recipient site may be a risk factor for dehydration in translocated individuals.
We recommend intense post translocation monitoring of black rhinos in Sera conservancy to ensure unlimited access to water and provision of adequate water points.
CASE#6 RESCUE OF AN ELEPHANT CALF
Date: 27th May 2015
Location: Meru National Park, Mugwongo Plains
Note: This intervention was carried out by Dr. Fred Ochieng who was facilitated through the DSWT SkyVet program
This elephant calf was reported to have shown lameness and was lagging behind a group of 30 elephants. On closer observation a deformity of the right hind limb distal to the stifle joint was noted. Comminuted fracture of the proximal tibia and fibula was diagnosed by physical examination. The calf was rescued and taken to the DSWT orphanage for fracture treatment.