Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit - February 2013

Introduction The month of February witnessed an increase in number of cases attended by the unit


The month of February witnessed an increase in number of cases attended by the unit. As elephants continue to lead in case reports, other interesting activities undertaken included Elephant collaring in within Amboseli ecosystem and rescue of a young leopard that fell into an abandoned water tank at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, Kiboko. Case load is expected to remain high as the dry season sets in.

Case of an injured Elephant shot with an arrow at Ol donyo wuas, 7th Feb. Ol donyo Wuas is community wildlife conservation inside the Mbirikani group ranch that promotes wildlife conservation with community development. The water supply at the lodge is frequented by big bulls who are constantly targeted by poachers. The bull was spotted with an arrow head protruding from the skin. Darting was done using 18 mgs of etorphine alone. The arrow head were removed, wounds cleaned and both parenteral and topical antibiotics applied. The case was given a good prognosis and revived by use of diprenorphine at three times the etorphine dose.

Treatment of a snared Wild pig at Chale island South Coast, 9th Feb.

Chale Island off South coast is a small island with tourist facilities that is inhabited by several wild animal species. The snare on the wild pig around the upper and lower jaw made feeding difficult. Darting was done using 4 mgs of etorphine and 10 mgs of xylazine. The wire snare around the mouth was cut off, wounds cleaned and antibiotic applied. Revival was done using diprenorphine and Antisedan.

Treatment of an injured Elephant bull near Ngutuni lodge, 12th Feb.

The big tusker was spotted near Ngutuni water hole with an arrow wound at the ramp. Darting was done using 18 mgs of etorphine alone in a dan inject dart system. The wounds was cleaned using copious amounts of water mixed hydrogen at a ratio of 1:1 then doused with tincture of iodine and a final coat of green clay applied. After intramascular injections of antibiotics and painkillers were administered, he was revived using diprenorphine and handed a good prognosis.

Rescue of a young leopard that fell into an empty water tank at KARI, Kiboko 12th Feb.

The leopard was found inside an empty water tank at Kenya Agricultural research centre ranch in Kiboko area. He fell into the tank the night before. He was darted using 80 mgs of ketamine and 3 mgs of meditomidine. A long rope and a sack were used to hoist her out. She was taken to Chyulu National Park for recovery and feeding before eventual transfer to Nairobi orphanage because of her age.

Clinical management of an elephant calf with limb fracture, Tsavo East 14th Feb.

The elusive mother and a limping calf were finally found with a group of bulls near Dida harea area of Tsavo East. The calf had carrying leg lameness denoting a fracture or dislocation. Due to the closeness of the mother- calf bond, the two were immobilized together. The cow was darted using 16 mgs of etorphine while the calf 3 mgs of etorphine was used. The right front limb was examined and found to be fractured but due to age, he was given a chance of fracture healing. Antibiotics and painkillers were administered and both the cow and calf revived. A guarded prognosis was given.

Amboseli ecosystem Elephant collaring operation, 18th 20th March.

Elephant collaring exercise was carried out within the Amboseli ecosystem on Tuesday 19th and Wednesday 20th Feb.2013. Due to unavailability of a chopper and the difficult terrain 3 bulls of the expected 6 individuals were collared with satellite linked collars for monitoring and also to provide data on the migratory elephant population. The elephants were collared at Kimana sanctuary, eselenkei community conservancy and osewani area. On the first day only one bull was collared at Kimana sanctuary and the next day the second and third bull were collared at Osewani and selenkei community conservancies. The satellite collars are expected to provide data on daily and seasonal migration and dispersal of the individuals.

Treatment of injured bull at Oldonyo Wuas, Chyulu 22nd Feb.

The Vet team was back again in Ol donyo Wuas to attend to an injured elephant with an arrow head stuck at the side. Immobilization was one using 18 mgs of etorphine and went down in 5 minutes. The arrow head was removed, the wounds cleaned with a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide. Tincture of iodine and green clay was used to cover the wound. Parenteral antibiotics and pain reliever were also injected intramuscularly. The Elephant was given good prognosis.

Other cases handled by the unit

A buffalo calf was rescued near Ngutuni area after lions killed its mother and taken to Voi stockade but succumbed few days later from various complications. A zebra foal rescued from Manyani maximum prison with a broken limb also succumbed shortly after the rescue.

Acknowledgements The unit would like to thank its sponsors ViER PFOTEN through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) for the great support they extend to the unit and also not forgetting Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).

Reported By: Dr Jeremiah Poghon