Snares are cruel, indiscriminate and illegal. More often set to trap animals for bushmeat, any passing creature is at risk, and so it was that yesterday morning on the 26th March 2018 our DSWT/KWS Mount Kenya Veterinary Unit attended to a young elephant calf on Elkerama Ranch in Central Kenya that had stepped into a snare. These devices made of wire pull ever tighter around a victim's body as they struggle to free themselves and cause unimaginable pain. This snare had cut deep into the calf's leg, almost to the bone, and there was substantial swelling so it was imperative the team treat the injury to save her leg, and ultimately her life.
Attending the scene, KWS Vet Dr. Mijele had to first dart the mother, to enable the Vet Team safe access to the calf in order to assess her injuries and carry out the treatment. Once the mum was down, the team set about cutting away the snare from the baby's leg, before cleaning out the deep wound and administering antibiotics and finally, covering the wound in natural green clay to aid the healing process. The team then brought the calf back alongside her mother, who the vet brought around from the anaesthesia in a controlled manner so as to minimise the distress for mother and baby and encourage the baby to stay beside mum as she awoke.
The wound caused by this snare will take time to heal completely, but we feel sure, given our unfortunate experience of snare wounds, that this young female elephant will make a full recovery. With that, we will have not only saved a life, but helped keep a family together.
Across Kenya we operate five fully Mobile Veterinary Units in partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service, supported by the Sky Vet initiative, all tasked with alleviating the suffering of sick and injured wild animals, and saving wild lives. Every day brings different challenges for the teams faced with different patients in need, however thanks to our supporters we are able to ensure the teams have the equipment and resources they require to make a positive difference. If you would like to support our Veterinary Units, please make a donation here