The Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit
Field Report - December 2007
A case of snared giraffe in Naivasha
The other case was that of an adult male giraffe that had a loose snare wire on right hind limb just above the hoof, it had not inflicted any injury to the animal but it affected its movement and feeding. The animal was then captured by chemical restrain and the wire removed.
POSTMORTEM EXAMINATION OF A WHITE RHINO (Ceratotherium simum) IN KIGIO WILDLIFE CONSERVANCY:
Kigio Wildlife conservancy is in Naivasha area, it borders Marula and KARI ranches in the North lake side. The ranch had two White rhinos that were introduced there from Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in the year 2003 to help promote tourism activities in the area. The rhinos have been in good condition and well protected until
Location………………………..Kigio Wildlife Conservancy
Approximate body weight……..1400Kgs
Body condition score…………..4
Date reported sick……………...8/12/07
Date of death…………………...9/12/07
Date of postmortem…………….9/12/07
Shortly before the animal died it was weak, anorexic, no much movement, abduction of front legs, no defecation for a long time. A few hours later the animal suddenly collapsed and died while in the company of the other female rhino. Just before postmortem the animal was exuding white foamy discharges from the nostrils.
The KWS rangers being assisted by the conservancy workers and other staff helped the vet to open up the carcass for detailed postmortem. Human safety and precaution was the number one priority and everyone put on protective gear (hand gloves, overall, face masks and gum-boots), the animal was handled with great care.
There was marked pulmonary oedema and congestion, excessive blood and white froth oozing from the bronchi and bronchioles, much of the froth was flowing freely through the trachea to exit through the nostrils. The spleen was thin, flabby and pitting on palpation, thin cardiac muscles, gelatinous/fatty tissue was also found lodged in the left heart ventricle.
Congestive heart failure probably caused by stenosis of pulmonary vein or fat deposits in the lumen of pulmonary vein or on the heart valves. Therefore there was insufficient flow of oxygenated blood from lungs to heart through pulmonary vein hence low supply of oxygenated blood to the brain and other parts of the body.
CAUSE OF DEATH
Pulmonary oedema that led to insufficient oxygenation of blood and lack of oxygen supply to the brain caused brain cells death and finally death of the animal. Asphyxiation would have occurred and that explains why the animal was seen abducting the front legs in an attempt to breathe. The excessive fluid in the lung tissues mixed with air trapped within the lung tissues formed the white froath that was seen exuding through the nostrils after death.
Tissue samples from all the internal organs were collected for histopathology examination, stomach and intestinal contents collected for toxicological tests.
The carcass was disposed of by deep burial in 5 feet pit within the ranch.
TRANSLOCATION OF IMPALAS (Aepyceros melampus) FROM
The Kisumu Impala sanctuary have indigenous population of impalas that were collected and brought together from the areas surrounding Kisumu town. The animals have remained in the sanctuary since 1980s their population has been increasing over the years despite the fact that the parent stock was too small. Chances of in-breeding have increased over the years and it was suspected that the population may soon die out if no rejuvenated by bringing in animals with different genetic backgrounds.
OBJECTIVES OF THE TRANSLOCATION
The main objectives for the Impala translocation exercise was to improve the genetic pool of the indigenous impalas in Kisumu Impala sanctuary to reduce the level of in-breeding in that population and also to increase the impala population in Mt. Elgon NP and Ndeere Island. This is meant to create a sustainable breeding population of impalas that will enhance tourism activities in these areas. The objectives were achieved by;
MATERIALS AND EQUIPMENT USED IN THE TRANSLOCATION
The impala herds to be captured had to be assessed during the day to ascertain their numbers, sex, age structure and terrain. The preference was to capture males and females on different occasions to avoid mixing males and females in one container because males can fight and injure females during transport. Once the capture site was identified, nets were erected to form an oval shape with one end open to allow entry of animals into the net. Other drop nets were erected within the main enclosure to help capture animals that attempted to escape.
The best time to capture impalas was at night, a time when they don’t see the nets when chased by vehicles. The animals would then be directed into the nets by vehicles, when impalas get entangled by the nets they would be restrained physically by hand and ropes where necessary.
LOADING AND TRANSPORTATION EXERCISE
The animals were loaded individually by hands into a wooden container fitted onto a canter lorry, the floor of the container was filled with sawdust upto about 6 inches to avoid leg injuries during transport. For male impalas, plastic tubes were fitted on both horns to avoid fights and injuries while put together in the transportation container. Identification marks such as ear-notch were made whenever it was necessary. The animals were transported at night from Nakuru to Kisumu and released in the morning.
BIOLOGICAL SAMPLES COLLECTION AND PROCESSING
Blood samples were collected from most impalas that were captured during the exercise, the blood was collected from the jugular vein and kept in plain tubes coated with clot retractor for serum collection. Serum was later on extracted from the blood and kept in 1.8ml cryovials stored in a deep freezer in KWS laboratory serum bank for future reference. Tissue samples were also obtained and kept in ethanol solution also stored in a sample bank.
TRANSLOCATION RESULTS/ DISCUSSIONS
Several impalas were moved from different locations and taken to different sites as indicated below;
A total of 53 impalas were captured and moved out of Lake Nakuru National Park, these includes 15males (28%) and 38 females (72%), ages of these animals ranged from adults to sub-adults with majority of them being adults. Ndeere Island NP received 27 females,
At the close of the exercise 14 out of the 53 impalas (26%) had died due to fatigue, lameness due to joint injuries and euthanasia. Other mortalities could be expected during the period when the animals are trying to adapt to their new environment.
All the male impalas taken to Kisumu Impala sanctuary were ear-notched on the left ear so as to differentiate them from the 4 indigenous males that remained in the sanctuary. The 4 remaining males could be removed later on when the new males shall have adapted to the environment.
The translocation exercise took about 11 days to complete, it was well coordinated and the animals arrived to different locations safely. There were no bad incidences during the exercise. A total of 64 impalas were captured and moved to different locations as indicated in the report above. The translocated animals still require close monitoring until such a time when they shall have adapted fully to their new environment.
Reported by; Dr. Domnic Mijele