Summary During the month of September, 2012, the Mara veterinary unit was involved in a number of activities including treatment of an elephant in Mara conservancy and translocation of elephants from Siyapei area in Narok to Masai Mara to reduce incidences of human-elephant conflicts. The unit also conducted an active surveillance and epidemiological survey of malignant catarrhal fever (MCF) disease in wildebeest of Masai Mara ecosystem, this was a collaborative effort between KWS, DSWT and University of Nairobi, a total of 21 wildebeests were captured and sampled. All the veterinary activities went on successfully during the month as reported below. Treatment of a wounded sub-adult male elephant in Mara Conservancy. This was a case of a sub-adult male elephant which had a penetrative wound on the medial side of right hind leg. The elephant was under great pain and could only walk slowly, it had been left alone in the thicket. The cause of the injury was not known but it was suspected that the animal could have been shot by an arrow-head during an incident of human-elephant conflict. The elephant was sighted by the rangers of Mara conservancy who immediately informed the vet to attend to it. Chemical immobilization, examination and treatment The elephant was darted from the ground using 10mgs of etorphine Hcl combined with 1500 i.u on the right thigh. The drug took effect after about 5 minutes and it became recumbent. The wound was then examined for the presence of any foreign material but there was none, the affected limb was extensively swollen and oedematous. An opening was created to drain all the accumulated fluid and pus from the injury. The wound was also cleaned and debrided using 10% hydrogen peroxide draining all the accumulated pus and then treated using a topical application of a tincture of iodine and oxytetracycline spray. Further treatments by intramuscular administration of long-acting Amoxycillin (Betamox) antibiotics and flunixin meglumine were also provided.
Twenty one (21) wildebeests were captured by darting from a vehicle using 3 - 5mgs of etorphine hydrochloride combined with 30mgs of xylazine hydrochloride depending on age and size. Blood, ticks and tissue samples were collected from each animal and will be analyzed for MCF disease.
Translocation of elephants from Siyapei area to Masai Mara. A total of 46 elephants were captured by chemical immobilization and translocated to Masai Mara National Reserve in September, 2012. The translocation was meant to reduce cases of human-elephant conflict which are a threat to both elephants and human beings. In the recent past cases of human-wildlife conflict have increased in Narok area, this has been attributed to increase in human population, conversion of wild range land into agriculture and loss of habitat for animals. Most of the reported conflict cases in Narok are human-elephant conflict cases. Elephants are usually involved in human injuries, human deaths, crop destruction and other property destruction. The area is becoming unsustainable for wildlife conservation if the current trend of crop farming, charcoal burning and tree logging continues. In the first phase of translocation, 62 elephants were successfully captured and transported to Masai Mara during the month of September, 2011. During this second phase 46 elephants were successfully captured and translocated to Masai Mara.
Report by: Dr. Domnic Mijele