Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit - October 2007


We started October on a sad note after we lost a three months old elephant calf a few minutes after we retrieved it from a 10 feet deep septic tank. This occurred on the 1st  at Taita Hills Wildlife Sanctuary/Salt lick. The hotel staff were not sure when it fell into the open manhole.  The mother could not let them rescue the calf for it was very aggressive and several times it attacked their vehicles whenever they got too close. They therefore called the Unit for assistance.
The only option available was to dart the mother to reach the calf. Several times when we approached to dart it charged making us retreat to safety. After many attempts we eventually managed to get an opportunity but upon dart impact it charged so fast and before we backed-off, the elephant had already hit the vehicle at the front. It hit once and retreated. The radiator was extensively damaged. Five minutes after the dart placement, the elephant went down 20 metres from the septic tank.  The calf was retrieved using ropes placed around the chest girth. It seemed weak and exhausted from trying to keep itself afloat. It died a few minutes after it was rescued.
On October 13th we received the report of a 4-year old elephant calf carrying a snare on its left hind leg near Sobo rock in Tsavo East. We responded immediately and found the family about to cross GalanaRiver. The calf was identified amongst the family of eleven individuals. The other side of the river is inaccessible and all we had to do is hope the family crosses back to the southern side. We have visited the general area several times thereafter but we have not yet seen this family. The search will continue during this month of November.
On the 22nd, we received the report of a buffalo calf whose mother was killed by lions at pipeline area in Tsavo East. The calf was however spared and the lions were now looking after it. The lions and the calf were found resting together. When we got too close and the lions realised our intentions they tried to hide the calf inside one of the discarded water pipes. In the process, the calf got slightly injured on the head. Eventually the lions were scared away and the calf rescued. An antibiotic cover was given for three days. So far it is doing well at the Voi elephant stockades.
Another adult buffalo that was stuck in mud in a dry water pan was rescued on the 24th in Luarenyi ranch. It was pulled out using ropes and it escaped into the bushes after it was rescued.
The last case for October was on the 28th at Salt Lick. This was an elephant bull with a suspected poisoned arrow injury on the left fore leg. The injury was not deep and was moderately infected. The entire leg was swollen and the elephant was walking with a lot of difficulties. Treatment was administered and the elephant will be monitored closely with a view to giving it a repeat treatment after a week.