THE TSAVO MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
REPORT FOR - October 2017

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The month of October continued to experience a dry spell with no rains, leading to pronounced effects of drought that were observed mainly in elephant calves and aged individuals. Some showers were later experienced in Tsavo ecosystem to the great relief of everyone but unfortunately it didn’t last. The month under review saw an upsurge in drought related mortalities mainly affecting old and young elephants in the southern part of Tsavo East National Park. Several elephant calves were rescued and taken to Voi and Nairobi DSWT stockades while emaciated and recumbent old elephants had to be euthanized to end their suffering.  the weather forecast has predicted some showers in the month of November that will go a long way in reducing the suffering of wildlife within Tsavo ecosystem.

1. EXAMINATION OF ELEPHANT CARCASS

Animal: African Elephant

Species:Loxodanta Africana

Sex: Female

Age: 1 year

Location: Voi airstrip, Tsavo East

Date of clinical intervention: 4th October 2017

History and Examination

A report was made by tourists of an Elephant calf that was lying down and motionless near the Voi park airstrip within Tsavo East National Park with the mother standing beside it guarding. The Tsavo unit team unit rushed to the area to ascertain the problem.The mother was pushed away in order to get access to the calf and upon examining we found the calf was freshly dead. The carcass was thin and emaciated due to starvation from the ongoing drought conditions. Carcass moved away from the road.

Unfortunately the calf was already dead  Checking the calf

Prognosis

The cause of death was through natural cause and drought related.

 

2. EXAMINATION OF ELEPHANT CARCASSES

Animal: African Elephant

Species:Loxodanta Africana

Sex: Female

Age: Adult

Location: Signage 104, Tsavo East

Date of clinical intervention: 5th October 2017

History and Examination

A report was made by tour drivers of an Elephant carcass near the signage 104 within Tsavo East National Park. The Tsavo unit team unit visited the area to ascertain the cause of death.

The carcass was lying on the left flank and starting to decompose. There was little scavenger activity on the carcass with the tusks still intact. The skin was removed from the carcass to expose the whitish subcutis and examine any penetrating wounds, but none were found.

Elephant cor carcass

The carcasses were rolled over to expose the left flank and autopsy undertaken with no signs of external injury observed. Tusks were retrieved and taken for safe custody.

Prognosis

The cause of deaths was through natural cause and drought related.

 

3. ELEPHANT AUTOPSY EXAMINATION

Species:     Elephant

Sex:            Female

Age:            5 year old and adult cow

Date:           6th October 2017

Place:          Voi River and 102, Tsavo East

Introduction and autopsy

A report was made by DSWT patrol aeroplane and Voi stockade staff of 2 Elephant carcasses seen along Voi River near Voi wildlife lodge and along Voi –Luggards falls road in Tsavo East National Park. The Tsavo vet unit rushed to the area to ascertain the cause of death.

The calf along Voi River was found already dead but fresh with little scavenger activity on it. The skin was removed from carcass to expose the whitish subcutis and examine any penetrating wounds, but none were found. The carcasses were rolled over to expose the left flank and autopsy undertaken with no signs of external injury observed. Tusks were retrieved and taken for safe custody.

Autopsy on 5 year old elephant

The team moved to another old carcass of an Elephant cow near Voi- Luggards road where an adult cow carcass was examined. The carcass was at an advanced level of decomposition with tusks intact. The carcass was aged at 1 month old. Tusks were retrieved for safe custody.

The cause of deaths was through natural/drought related.

 

4. ELEPHANT CALF RESCUE

Species:     Elephant

Sex:             Female

Age:            4 years old

Date:           7th October 2017

Place:          Irima, Tsavo East

History, treatment and rescue

A report was made by KWS teams of one Elephant calf that was lying down and unable to stand up near a road at Irima area of Tsavo East.

The vet team together with the Voi stockade team rushed to the area to find the young Elephant emaciated and weak.

It was administered with antibiotics, Vitamin B12 complex and colvasone, the calf stabilized and was transported to Voi stockade with the assistance of the Voi stockade team for more intensive care.

Elephant calf in the taming stockade at Voi  Elephant calf was assisted with more intensive care

 

5. RESCUE OF TWO ELEPHANT CALVES, EUTHANASIA OF OLD COW AND ELEPHANT AUTOPSY EXAMINATION OF 3 OTHERS, TOTAL 6 CASES

Species:     Elephant

Sex:             Calves (Male and Female) the rest females 4

Age:            Calf and Adults

Date:           8th October 2017

Place:          Aruba water hole (5), Voi gate 1, Tsavo East

Introduction and autopsy

A report was made by DSWT de-snaring rangers of an elephant calf and cow that had collapsed near Aruba water point, Tsavo East.

The Tsavo vet unit rushed to the area to ascertain the cause of problem. Attempts were made to help the recumbent cow onto her feet by use of ropes tied to the vet vehicle in vain as she was too weak to stand.

A young recumbent calf nearby was administered with colvasone, catasol and 50% dextrose bolus intravenously to stabilise her and she was then put in a shade. Another small lame calf was rescued nearby, and both airlifted to Nairobi stockade for care.

Elephant calf found collapsed  Preparing to transport the calf

Administering a drip to another calf

The recumbent female cow was euthanized and the tusks were removed for custody, another two young elephant carcasses were also examined and their small tusks removed.

Examining a young elephant carcass  Elephant carcass by a waterhole

Examining another elephant carcass

Back in the camp another Elephant cow carcass seen near Voi gate was examined and tusks removed. All the 6 cases attended were as a result of the ongoing drought conditions in the park.

 

6. ELEPHANT AUTOPSY EXAMINATION

Species:     Elephant

Sex:             Male

Age:            8 years old

Date:           10th October 2017

Place:          Voi River, Tsavo East

Introduction

An Elephant carcass near the Voi River towards Ngutuni sanctuary within the Tsavo east National Park was discovered. The Tsavo vet unit visited the area to ascertain the cause of death. The carcass was lying on the right flank and at an advanced level of decomposition. No external injuries were observed. Autopsy was undertaken, and no lesions were seen apart from the poor body condition. Tusks were removed and taken for safe custody. Cause of death was put as starvation/drought effects due to the long dry spell within Tsavo.

Carcass was in an advanced level of decomposition  Tusks were removed and taken for safe custody

 

7. ELEPHANT AUTOPSY EXAMINATION

Species:     Elephant

Sex:             Unknown

Age:            4 years old

Date:           10th October 2017

Place:          Dida Harea, Tsavo East

Introduction

The carcass was lying on the left flank and at an advanced level of decomposition. No external injuries were observed. Autopsy was undertaken, and no lesions were seen apart from the poor body condition. Tusks were removed and taken for safe custody. Cause of death was put as starvation/drought effects due to the long dry spell within Tsavo.

Carcass in advanced state of decomposition

 

8. RESCUE OF 2 ELEPHANT CALVES

Animal: African Elephant

Species: Loxodanta Africana

Sex: Female and Male

Age: 2 Years and 6 months

Location: Aruba and Satao, Tsavo East

Date: 14th October

History, treatment and rescue

A report was made by tour drivers of one Elephant calf that was alone with no family within near Aruba lodge area of Tsavo east. The vet team together with the Voi stockade team rushed to the area to find the young calf moving around and confused. The female calf was rescued and placed in a vehicle to await an airlift to Nairobi orphanage.

Rescuing the female elephant calf  Preparing the calf for transport

Whilst rescuing the first calf another report of a collapsed calf was received from Satao camp. The team rushed to find the barely breathing calf in nearby. He was stabilised with Vitamin B12 complex and IV fluid therapy. The calf once stabilized, was loaded onto a vehicle and transported to Aruba where together with the first calf were airlifted to Nairobi DSWT orphanage for care.

Calf found in a collapsed state  Calf awaiting helicopter to take it to Nairobi Nursery

Calf waiting in the vehicle in the shade

 

9. EXAMINATION OF 2 ELEPHANT COWS

Date:  16th October 2017

Species: Loxodanta Africana (African Elephant)

Sex: Females

Age: Adult

Location: Aruba lodge and Voi River, Tsavo East

History

A report was received from tour drivers of two collapsed Elephant cows’, one near Aruba water hole and the other along Voi River near Sentrim Lodge all within Tsavo East National Park.

The team rushed to Aruba and found the first cow flat on the ground and barely breathing but alive. She succumbed minutes later while being attended. Autopsy was undertaken but nothing was seen apart from emaciation. Tusks were removed or safe custody.

Elephant cow was recumbent  Elephant cow succumbed whilst being attended to

The team then rushed to Sentrim Lodge along Voi River where the other case had been reported. The young cow was also lying flat next to the River banks and had just succumbed. The carcass was seriously emaciated with skeletal anatomy obvious from the skin surface. Tusks were removed for safe custody.

Second elephant case was already dead  The elephant was very skeletal with very little muscle and fat

The two cases succumbed to the ongoing drought conditions within Tsavo East National Park and its environs.

 

10. AUTOPSY EXAMINATION OF 3 ELEPHANTS

Species:     Elephant

Sex:             Females (3)

Age:            Adult

Date:           19th October 2017

Place:          Luggards road, Aruba and Mudanda rock, Tsavo East

Introduction

A report of Elephant carcasses was received from the DSWT patrol aeroplane and tour drivers along Voi - Luggards road, Aruba and Mudanda rock areas of Tsavo East National Park. The Tsavo vet unit visited the areas to ascertain the causes of death.

The first carcass was lying on the right flank and at an advanced level of decomposition. All flesh had rotted away and only skin with the skeletal structure and organs were left.  The Tusks were removed and taken for safe custody. No meaningful autopsy could be undertaken on the carcass and tentative cause of death was put as drought related starvation.

First carcass was in an advanced state of decomposition

The second carcass was of a young female near Aruba lodge area. The carcass was still fresh with slight scavenging on the perineal area. No significant pathological findings were observed on autopsy and tentatively put as drought related due to poor carcass score. The tusks were removed for safe custody.

Second carcass was of a young female elephant

After finishing with the Aruba case the vet team headed to Mudanda rock where another old carcass was spotted. The carcass was also in advanced state of decomposition and no meaningful autopsy was undertaken to ascertain the cause of death.

Third carcass was very old but determined as another drought victim

All the three cases died of drought related factors that is ravaging the Tsavo ecosystem.

 

11. EXAMINATION OF TWO ELEPHANT CARCASSES

Animal: African Elephant

Species: Loxodanta Africana

Sex: Female

Age: 1 year and adult

Location: Aruba and Kanderi, Tsavo East

Date of clinical intervention: 21st October 2017

History and Examination

A report was made by tourists of an Elephant calf that was lying down and motionless near the Aruba enclosure within Tsavo East National Park. The Tsavo unit team unit rushed to the area to ascertain the problem. The carcass was thin and emaciated due to starvation from the ongoing drought conditions.

Elephant was thin and emaciated and had already passed away

After finishing with the Aruba case the vet team headed to Kanderi swamp where another old carcass was spotted. The carcass was also in advanced state of decomposition and no meaningful autopsy was undertaken to ascertain the cause of death. Tusks were retrieved for safe custody.

Death thought to be due to drought

The two cases had died of drought related problems.

 

12. EXAMINATION OF AN ELEPHANT COW

Date:  23rd October 2017

Species: Loxodanta Africana (African Elephant)

Sex: Female

Age: Adult

Location: Aruba, Tsavo East

History

Report was received from tour drivers of an injured Elephant cow that was recumbent and flat on the ground near Aruba airstrip within Tsavo East. The team rushed to the area and found the cow flat on the ground. The body condition was poor.

Elephant cow found in very poor body condition

Examination and treatment

Treatment was given with antibiotics, colvasone, vitamin B12 complex and Dextrose IV bolus shots were administered but the response was minimal. Attempts to pull her onto her feet also proved unsuccessful. With a very poor prognosis she was euthanized, and the tusks removed for safe custody. The poor condition is drought related.

 

13. EXAMINATION OF AN ELEPHANT COW

Date:  27th October 2017

Species: Loxodanta Africana (African Elephant)

Sex: Female

Age: Adult

Location: Sentrim, Tsavo East

History

A report was received from tour drivers of an injured Elephant cow that was recumbent and flat on the ground inside a water hole along Voi-Aruba road near Sentrim lodge within Tsavo East. The team rushed to the area and found the cow flat on the ground. The body condition was poor.

Recumbent elephant cow near a water hole  Unfortunately the cow was too far gone and died

Attempts to pull her onto her feet also proved unsuccessful. She was euthanized and the tusks removed for safe custody. The poor condition is drought related.

 

14. RESCUE OF AN ELEPHANT CALF

Animal: African Elephant

Species: Loxodanta Africana

Sex: Female

Age: 4 Years

Location: Irima, Tsavo East

Date: 27th October

History, treatment and rescue

A report was made by the DSWT patrol aeroplane of an Elephant calf that had been seen earlier but now her condition had deteriorated near a road at Irima area of Tsavo East.

The vet team together with the Voi stockade team rushed to the area to find the young Elephant standing but emaciated. The calf was covered with a blanket, captured and taken to Voi stockade where administration of antibiotics, Vitamin B12 complex and colvasone was instituted.

Calf was captured and transported to the Voi stockades  Calf in the stockades at Voi

After intensive care so far, the calf is doing well.

 

15. EXAMINATION OF A GIRAFFE

Animal: Giraffe

Species: Maasai Giraffe

Sex: Male

Age:  Adult

Location: Galdessa, Tsavo East

Date: 29th October

History, treatment and rescue

A report was made by Galdessa Lodge staff of an adult male Giraffe that was stuck in shallow water near Galdessa camp in Tsavo East.

The vet team together with the Voi stockade team rushed to the area to find the Giraffe already dead. The cause of the problem was the weak Giraffe slid into the shallow water depression and despite Galdessa team pulling him out, he was already too weak to survive and succumbed.

The giraffe was unfortunately too weak

 

16. ELEPHANT AUTOPSY EXAMINATION

Species:     Elephant

Sex:             Female

Age:            Adult

Date:           30th October 2017

Place:          Kanderi, Tsavo East

Introduction

A report was received from tour drivers of an Elephant carcass near Kanderi swamp along Voi River within Tsavo East National Park. The Tsavo vet unit visited the area to ascertain the cause of death.

The carcass was lying inside the Kanderi water collection pond where Elephants drink water. The carcass was pulled out of the water and examined.

Elephant carcass near Kanderi swamp   Carcass pulled out of the water for examination

An autopsy was undertaken, and no lesions were seen apart from the poor body condition. Tusks were removed and taken for safe custody.

Cause of death was put as starvation/drought effects due to the long dry spell within Tsavo.

 

17. EXAMINATION OF ELEPHANT CARCASSES

Animal: African Elephant

Species: Loxodanta Africana

Sex: Female

Age: Adult

Location: Satao, Tsavo East

Date of clinical intervention: 31st October 2017

History and Examination

A report was made by DSWT aeroplane of a recumbent Elephant near Satao within Tsavo East National Park. The Tsavo unit team visited the area to ascertain the cause of death.

The Elephant cow appeared weak but was struggling to stand up. A rope tied to the vet unit vehicle and looped on her tusk was used to aid her onto her feet. She stood up and walked away slowly.

Elephant cow was weak but trying to stand  Giving the elephant some water

Elephant was assisted to her feet and thankfully walked away

She was a lucky one unlike many others. Some showers were witnessed in Tsavo East National Park and we hope it will continue.

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