Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit - November 2011

Introduction The Tsavo ecosystem continues to witness blessings in terms of heavy rains in the region and accompanying greening of vegetation

Introduction The Tsavo ecosystem continues to witness blessings in terms of heavy rains in the region and accompanying greening of vegetation. Seasonal rivers, dams and temporary water pools are now full and the vegetation lush green to the relief of wild game and the surrounding human population. The availability of food and water within the protected areas is expected to lead to decrease in case load, though the unit handled several cases related to injuries and conflict in the month of November. Elephant case with a swollen abdomen in Aruba, Tsavo East 3rd November. This is a case of an adult female elephant that was spotted near a water point with distended abdomen and appeared in pain due to its sluggish movement. Closer inspection revealed distended skin with oedema or pus accumulation. The elephant was immobilized and an old wound suspected to be an arrow wound above the swelling was cleaned and disinfected. The swelling was due to an infection spreading under the skin ventrally to the abdominal wall.

Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drug were administered before she was assisted onto her feet as she could not stand on her own. Prognosis is guarded. Desnaring of an Impala near Park headquarters, 12th November Impala and other small antelopes that inhabit areas near the park headquarters in Tsavo East often get snared at the Voi boundary as the case with this male Impala. It bore a tight holding and flesh cutting snare around the neck.
Darting was done using 2mgs of etorphine plus 5 mgs xylazine. The wire snare was removed and the wounds cleaned and antibiotic spray applied. Amoxycillin injections were also given. Treatment of an injured elephant bull in Taita hills sanctuary, 13th November. Taita hills sanctuary forms a critical dispersal area for elephants in Tsavo ecosystem. The male bull was spotted with an infected wound on the side of the body. Darting was by 18mgs of etorphine alone in a dan inject system. The wound caused by an arrow shot was cleaned with antiseptics mixed in water and a final douse of betadine iodine was applied. A coat of wetted green clay to ensure healing and prevent re-infection was applied and a good prognosis was given.
Examination and translocation of a problematic leopard, Mwakitau 16th November. Increase in human population puts a lot of pressure on Park resources and an immediate threat is increase in bush meat consumption by surrounding communities that leads to a decrease in numbers of prey. Less prey forces many predators to find alternative sources of food which are usually goats and other livestock within reach leading to human-wildlife conflict. This leopard was trapped near mwakitau area adjacent to Tsavo west National Park after killing several goats. Examination was done under anesthesia and found to be healthy for release back to the wild; he was finally released along Galana River. Autopsy of a lioness carcass found dead in Ndii area along Nairobi- Mombasa highway, 30th November.
Road kills along Nairobi- Mombasa highway remain a major contributor to deaths of wildlife crossing from Tsavo East to Tsavo west and vice versa especially during the night. A healthy looking lioness was spotted next to the road near Ndii area freshly dead with no external injuries and brought to the clinic for autopsy. The carcass was in good condition but with extensive bruising under the skin and muscle laceration in the hind limb. The abdominal cavity was full of blood from a ruptured descending aorta. Cause of death- internal hemorrhage.
Conclusion and acknowledgements The region continues to be an important area in terms of wildlife veterinary issues caused mainly by conflict related issues and the year 2012 is expected to remain the same. The unit acknowledges the great continued support of its sponsors VIER PFOTEN through The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and not forgetting The Director, Kenya Wildlife Service through The Head of Veterinary and Capture Services and the Assistant Director, Tsavo conservation Area.

Report by: Dr. Jeremiah Poghon

The Mobile Veterinary Unit operated by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust working with The Kenyan Wildlife Service and funded by Vier Pfoten.