February started with the report of a giraffe with a snare around its neck near Satao camp within Tsavo East National Park. Unfortunately, it was in a very difficult terrain with dense bush to work in and all attempts to approach and dart it for two days were futile. Following this disturbance, it disappeared and was not seen in three subsequent visits to the area. It reappeared again on the 18th February, almost three weeks after it was first reported. This time it was in a relatively good terrain. It was successfully immobilised, the snare removed and the inflicted wound cleaned and treated. Some systemic antibiotics were also given.
Earlier on the 14th before the above operation, we had been called to look at two ‘injured’ elephants within Tsavo East. The first was at Sobo along the Galana River.
On return from Ithumba we found reports of a giraffe with two arrow heads lodged on the left abdominal area at Iltilal on the Southern boundary of Tsavo West as well as that of an injured elephant at Oldonyo Wuas within Imbirikani group ranch near Amboseli national park. We left the following morning to treat these animals. However, the giraffe was not found and has not been seen again to date. It is highly suspected that it could have succumbed to the injuries. The elephant was also not seen for two days and we had to call off the operation to go back to Tsavo East to attend to the giraffe reported above after it was sighted again. We went back to Oldonyo Wuas on the 22nd when the elephant reappeared. The area is densely forested and normally treatment is done at a water hole near the ranch hotel. By the time we arrived, the elephant had already retreated back into the forest. It did not come to the water hole until the morning of the 24th. It had a swelling on the inner side of the left stifle joint that was interfering with movement. The animal could however bear its full weight on the leg and did not manifest signs of pain when walking. It was immobilised for a detailed examination and treatment.
We left for Voi after the above operation to find the report of a giraffe carrying a snare around its neck at Dika plains within Tsavo East. We didn’t find it however, but the search is still ongoing.
On various dates this month, the Unit also visited other areas under its jurisdiction and talked to the respective managements. Many areas reported no incidences of injury or sicknesses to the animals. We also sought information about the progress of the elephant treated in Amboseli in January. We were informed that the bull christened Martin is frequently sighted nowadays and that it fully recovered and resumed full use of the leg.