Published on the 2nd of June, 2018
FIELD VETERINARY REPORT FROM MASAI MARA – JUNE 2018
By Campaign Limo
This past month we have seen a slight drop in precipitation with plenty of food and water still available to the wildlife. There was a drop in cases reported and handled during the month with one unfortunate incident which lead to the loss of a big elephant within the ecosystem.
The following cases were handled during the month:
CASE #1 DE-SNARING OF AN ELAND
Date: 7th June 2018
Location: Olerai Conservancy, Masai Mara
This adult female eland was seen dragging a long plain wire firmly attached to her left hind leg by the Olerai Conservancy team who immediately notified the Mobile Veterinary unit for intervention. She was found with a mixed herd of about twenty elands with the plain wire firmly attached to her left hind leg. Upon approach, she seemed to be a bit shy but in good health despite her injuries.
Immobilization, examination and treatment:
Restraint was achieved chemically by use of a combination of 10mgs Etorphine hydrochloride and 70mgs Azaperone tartarate delivered through a 1.5ml Daninject dart. Darting was carried out from a vehicle. She took off after being darted with the loose and longer portion of the snare snapping off as she fled. She remained with the tighter portion round her leg. The drugs took full effect after ten minutes with the eland assuming left lateral recumbency.
Examination revealed a tight plain wire snare on her left hind leg slightly above the hock joint which had created some soft tissue injuries but was not infected.The wound was cleaned with copious amounts of water, debrided with the help of hydrogen peroxide, rinsed with clean water and disinfected with tincture of iodine.Topical oxytetracycline wound spray was then applied. Other treatments given include parenteral administration of Amoxicillin antibiotics and Flunixin meglumine anti-inflammatories.
Reversal and Prognosis:
The anaesthetic was reversed by intravenous administration of 30mgs Diprenorphine hydrochloride delivered through the jugular vein. She woke up after three minutes to join her fellow grazers. Her prognosis for recovery is good.
CASE #2 POST MORTEM OF A DEAD VULTURE
Date: 14th June 2018
The carcass of this vulture was presented for examination to the KWS Research Station by members of the Peregrine Fund. It was retrieved from a tree close to Olarro Conservancy.
On opening the carcass, the following was noted;
This vulture could have died due to impaction by phytobezoars. The finding of the excessive and almost exclusive grass ball within her stomach was considered abnormal given that vultures are flesh eaters. The ball had occupied much of the space in the stomach occluding the exit to the lower gastrointestinal tract with attendant associated complications, such as starvation due to gastrointestinal function interference.
CASE #3 EXAMINATION OF A DEAD ELEPHANT
Date: 20th June 2018
Species: African elephant (Loxodanta africana)
Age: 40 – 45 years
Location: Kichwa Tembo area
This carcass was seen the morning of the 20th of June, still intact, close to a valley near Kichwa Tembo, and was reported to the Veterinary unit by Mara Triangle Conservancy management. The unit was requested to complete an autopsy in order to determine the cause of death of this hither to healthy elephant. It was reported that this elephant was known to be friendly to humans and was commonly sighted in this area.
He was found dead and lying on his right lateral side with the following general findings;
This elephant died from injuries caused by a high calibre projectile through the left side of his brain. Entering through the left jaw, and exiting dorso-laterally just behind the left ear. As the projectile exited, the left ear pinna was also damaged and its cartilage fragmented. With severe bleeding and brain damage, this elephant died with little struggle within a short radius of being injured. The circumstances point to human involvement which resulted in the death of this big elephant.
CASE #4 INJURED ELEPHANT
Date: 26th June 2018
Species: African elephant
Location: Olarro Conservancy
Whilst on their normal patrols the Olarro rangers spotted this bull, in the company of two other young bulls, with a suppurating wound on his right flank. They immediately called the mobile Veterinary Unit for intervention.
The three bulls were found calmly browsing near a small thicket. A small discharging wound could be seen on the right flank of this big bull.
Immobilization, examination and treatment;
Restraint was achieved chemically through darting the bull with 15mgs Etorphine hydrochloride delivered through a 1.5ml Daninject dart. Darting was done from a vehicle. It took ten minutes for the drugs to take full effect with this elephant assuming right lateral recumbency in an open area. He was rolled over to expose his injury. This was a three to four day injury likely caused by a non-poisoned arrow which had since fallen, as probing and scanning with a metal detector revealed that there was no foreign body in the wound.
All necrotic tissues were removed with the help of hydrogen peroxide for debriding. A copious amount of water was used to rinse the wound before tincture of iodine was applied as disinfectant. Topical Oxytetracycline spray was lastly applied. Other treatments carried out included parenteral administration of Amoxicillin antibiotic and Flunixin meglumine anti-inflammatory.
Reversal and Prognosis:
Reversal was achieved through the administration of 36mgs Diprenorphine Hydrochloride via a prominent ear vein. He woke up in four minutes, stood calmly for a while before joining his colleagues. His prognosis for recovery is good.
The Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit would like to extend its gratitude to all the stakeholders who helped in reporting and locating wild animals that required medical attention during this month. Thanks to the Minara foundation through DSWT and KWS management for their continued partnership which has helped the unit reach and treat many wild animals under distress.