THE TSAVO MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
REPORT FOR - June 2018

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VETERINARY REPORT FOR TSAVO MOBILE VET UNIT FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE 2018

Reported by Dr Jeremiah Poghon

Unit veterinarian

Introduction

In the Month of June 2018 there was no rainfall received across the ecosystem with vegetation drying up fast. Generally there is still plenty of vegetation with water still being available at temporary water holes. Cases handled this month were the treatment of an injured Elephant bull near Bachuma gate, examination of a lion hit by the new Standard Gauge Railway near Bachuma, collaring of lions involved in human-wildlife conflict in the Kuku community group ranch near the Chyulu hills, and the capture and translocation of problematic lions in Maktau area of Tsavo West.

CASE #1 TREATMENT OF AN INJURED ELEPHANT BULL

Date: 1st June 2018

Species: Elephant

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Maungu, Tsavo East.

History:

The Elephant bull was reported to be lame and barely able to walk in Bachuma area of Tsavo East National Park, and was spotted resting under a tree. The team rushed to the area to find the sickly looking Elephant resting under a tree, he appeared to be thin and in great pain. Unlike other wild elephants in the park he didn’t move even when he was being approached by the Team. The left elbow joint of the left front limb was evidently very swollen.

Clearer image of the elephants swollen left elbow joint of the left front limb  Elephant spotted resting under the tree with a swollen left elbow joint of the left front limb

Immobilization, Examination and Treatment

Restraint was achieved chemically by darting the bull with 18 mgs of Etorphine Hcl in a Dan inject dart. A vehicle was used to approach and dart the bull. He was darted at the rump and went down on his sternal recumbency, and after 5 minutes he was then pushed to lateral recumbency. There was swelling on the left elbow joint of an unknown cause. Upon examination no external injury was seen. It was tentatively put that the cause of the swelling was dislocation of the elbow joint. Long acting antibiotics and Dexamethasone were administered parenterally.

The elephant about to be darted by the team  The elephant darted by the vet team

The vet examining the left elbow joint  The team treating the left elbow joint

Reversal and Prognosis

Anaesthesia reversal was done through the administration of 48 mgs of Diprenorphine through the ear veins. He woke up without assistance. Prognosis is guarded.

CASE #2 LION STRUCK BY SGR

Date: 12th June 2018

Species: Panthera leo

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Bachuma, Tsavo East.

It was reported by KWS rangers that a lion had been struck and killed by the new railway near Bachuma area of Tsavo East National Park. The Vet team visited the site and found the big male Lion carcass crushed, with no chance of surviving the accident. This comes barely one month after a lioness was hit and killed by the new train near the same area. Cases of wildlife being hit by the new railway are on the increase despite the fence being erected on both sides of the railway line. There is need to strengthen this fence along the railway line, ideally by electrifying the fence which would stop the wildlife from crossing the tracks.

Lion carcass found on the railway tracks  Lion carcass once removed from railway tracks

CASE #3 LION COLLARING EXERCISE

Date of intervention: 14th June 2018

Animal: Lioness

Species: Panthera leo

Sex: Female

Age: Adult

Location: Kuku community ranch

Kuku ranch is a community conservation area bordering Tsavo West National Park and Chyulu Hills National Park. Human-wildlife conflict is high in the mainly pastoralist community that rear livestock as their main source of income. There is an increase in livestock predation by wild carnivores in the ranch and this has created a hostile attitude towards wildlife by the local Maasai community.  Discussion between the park management, conservancy representatives and the unit resolved to collar the problematic lions for easy monitoring and to aid in conflict mitigation. One lioness was mounted with a collar.

Immobilization and Collaring

Aided by night vision equipment, the lioness was immobilized using 300 mgs of Ketamine and 4 mgs of Meditomidine Hcl after responding to a calling station near one of the hotspots. The collar was fitted with enough space to allow the lioness to feed and move with ease. The lioness was revived one and half hours later using Yohimbine Hcl and monitored until she moved away on her own. Further follow up reports indicate that she is doing well with the satellite component sending signals.

The lion sedated during the fitting of the collar

CASE #4 PROBLEMATIC LION CAPTURE EXERCISE

Date of intervention: 23rd June 2018

Animal: Lion

Species: Panthera leo

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Maktau, Tsavo West

A pride of lions was reported to be terrorizing residents of Maktau area bordering Tsavo West National Park killing numerous livestock and leading to protests from the community. Several attempts were made to capture the lions, but they were all in vain. Animal call back sounds were attempted at night but no success was achieved. A trap with live goat bait was placed and a young male lion was finally captured and brought into the Voi vet clinic for examination. He was anaesthetized using 300 mgs of Etorphine and 4 mgs of Meditomidine, the canines were examined and they were ok. Anaesthesia was reversed using Yohimbine Hcl the lion was then placed in a cage and released back into the wild near the Galana River, deep inside Tsavo East National Park.

The vet darting the male lion so he could be examined  The examining the male lions teeth

Other Activities

The unit examined several wildlife trophies/parts brought in from Mombasa and Malindi and produced expert reports to aid in the prosecution of the offenders in court.

Elephant tusks to be examined  Pangolin Scales

Large number of elephant tusks  Large number of pangolin scales and bones

Acknowledgement

The unit acknowledges the support of its sponsors ViER PFOTEN through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) for their immense financial contribution to the unit.  We also thank Kenya Wildlife Service through the Assistant director Tsavo conservation area and the head, veterinary and capture services department for their support.

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