This report is the last one for this year. We will be taking our annual leave in December and resume back in January 2008. November and December have few veterinary emergencies because of the short rains in October and November. The incidences of animal injury from human-wildlife conflicts as well as poaching for bush meat become are reduced following the rains. The animals also become widely dispersed and difficult to see because water and feed is available widely.
This elephant which was treated at Salt Lick on the 28th October was reassessed two weeks after on 12th November. There was no improvement but instead it had deteriorated further. It had lost body condition and pressure sores were developing on bony prominences because it was spending most of the time lying down and would stand up with difficulties. It moved only a few metres from where it was treated and was frequently sighted by the sanctuary rangers. The prognosis for recovery was guarded and a decision to put it down was made to stop further suffering.
At Salt Lick we also removed a snare from a bull elephant on the 19th November. The snare was loose around the neck and it had not inflicted any injury.
Lastly we retrieved an adult pregnant buffalo that was stuck in mud at a water pan in Lumo sanctuary on the 27th November. However, the buffalo was too weak and could not support itself to stand after we pulled it out. Signs of dehydration (sunken eyes, dry mucous membranes, loss of skin elasticity) were evident and indications were that it might have been stuck for several days. After efforts to support it to stand failed, we made a decision to euthanise it. Chances of it surviving were minimal.
From Tsavo West, we were requested to examine a hippo which had moved from the nearby river into a water pond within the Kitani Severin camp. No injury had been observed by the camp staff as well as KWS rangers stationed to monitor it. It regularly comes out of the water to feed and whenever it tries to go back into the river the dominant male hippos chase it away. We did not as well detect any abnormality with it that would warrant an intervention. We believe it is has been pushed out from the river due to territorial aggression by the other dominant males. At the time of preparing this report, the hippo was still at the camp and we were informed that it is still being repulsed by the others when it attempts to go back to the river. We observed over 20 hippos at the banks of the river next to the camp. The monitoring is ongoing.
The Mobile Veterinary Unit opearated by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust working with the Kenyan Wildlife Service and funded by Vier Pfoten.