The Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit

Field Report - November 2005

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This is the last report this year, as the Unit will break for the annual leave in December and resume back in January 2006. In our absence, the Veterinary/Capture Unit of KWS will handle all emergencies from Nairobi. The number of cases has been going down following the rains that started early this month. There were only three cases. Two of them involved snares; the first one was a male adult waterbuck

The Waterbuck after immobilisation  The snare can be clearly seen

and the second a 6-7 years old elephant. The last case was of an arrow injury also in an elephant. The waterbuck was near the Voi gate in Tsavo East while the elephant was at Mgenyo ranch. The snare in the waterbuck was loose around the neck

Removing the snare from around the Waterbuck's neck  Dr. Ndeereh administers the reversal drug

The Waterbuck getting back to its feet

and had not inflicted any injury while it was deeply embedded on the right fore leg in the elephant. The body condition of the elephant was poor due to the inability to move to feed and water.

Dr. Ndeereh approaches the elephant on foot in order to dart it  The elephant goes down after it is darted

The snare is deeply embedded in the elephants leg  Lifting the wire snare in order to be better able to cut it

Removing the snare  The wound is cleaned by Dr. Ndeereh

The wound after being cleaned and disinfected  The elephant back on its feet after the reversal drug is administered

The animal disappeared from the general area where it was sighted and treated a day after, and efforts to trace it for evaluation have been fruitless. The elephant with the arrow injury was of the same age as the one above and was reported by rangers on patrol at Maungu area in Tsavo East. The injury which was on the left fore leg was already healed and only a small swelling was remaining which was interfering with gait and posture.

The immobilised elephant lying near the vet unit vehicle  The arrow wound

Probing the injury  The arrow wound post treatment

Administering the reversal drug  The elephant getting to its feet

This was what made the rangers to call the Unit. Our observations were that the injury was sustained long time ago and was in the recovery process. We nevertheless immobilised it to confirm these observations and clear any doubts. The Mobile Veterinary Unit operated by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust working with The Kenyan Wildlife Service and funded by Vier Pfoten