The Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit
Field Report - August 2005
Return to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
This report was prepared early before the end of the month to allow the Unit participate actively in the translocation of 100 elephants from the Shimba Hills national reserve in Kwale District to the northern part of Tsavo East national park. The translocation is scheduled to start on the 22nd and is estimated to take three weeks.
The activities for August started on the ninth with the report of an 18-month-old elephant calf at Taita ranch. The calf had an injury on the leg from a poisoned arrow. The calf was found in the bush while down and unable to walk by the ranch game scouts. They carried it in an open pick-up to a relatively open area before they contacted the Unit.
On arrival at the site, we called the Burra de-snaring team to come and assist us ferry it to the Voi elephant rehabilitation unit where we thought we could be able to manage the problem better and monitor the progress closely. Unfortunately, by the time they arrived, the condition had deteriorated to the point where it could not be saved. The breathing had become very low and the temperature subnormal and it could no longer respond to any stimuli. Death was imminent and we put it down with 20% Pentobarbitone Sodium (Euthatal®). The injury was just a few days old.
The Unit then assisted the Rhino Unit of KWS headquarters under the request of the Veterinary Unit to ear notch female sub-adult black rhinos in Ngulia sanctuary in Tsavo West national park.
The purpose of the ear notching, each rhino with a unique pattern provided by the Rhino Unit, is to help in the monitoring and identification of the animals estimated to number about 60 in the sanctuary. Females were targeted so that their future young could be identified from their mothers. The objective was to ear notch ten animals but the thick bushes made it extremely difficult to achieve the target.
Only seven were captured. The exercise was undertaken between 10th and 12th together with the capture personnel from Nairobi.
We had three snare cases this month. One was of a female impala at the Voi gate in Tsavo East on the 15th.
The others were a male giraffe at Taita Hills Sanctuary (Salt Lick)
and a lioness at Voi Wildlife lodge both on the 18th. All the snares were on the neck and loose without any inflicted injuries.
The main challenge was with the lioness as it was in a pride of 16 lionesses and cubs which refused to leave it after immobilisation.
When all efforts to drive them away failed, we got off the snare and revived the animal while shielded from its pride members by the vehicle.