Treatment of Elephant Bull – Masai Mara – 11 Aug 2014
Late in the evening of 10th August 2014 a call was received from the Mara Elephant Project stating that 10 elephants had been crop-raiding in the North Mara area just outside the park. Angry farmers had inflicted many wounds with spears and arrows and there were photographs of the elephants crossing the river with the arrows still lodged in their bodies.
The DSWT helicopter was requested to assist. The helicopter was used to assist ground teams tracking the elephants. Sadly the elephants had disappeared into thick forest and could not be found despite considerable effort and the alerting of all camps and guides in the area.
In the afternoon a bull elephant was spotted to the west of Mara North limping badly, and there was a worry that the elephant might go down in difficult ground. The vet was quickly picked up in the helicopter and a successful darting made. The helicopter was able to gently move the elephant away from difficult ground and then keep it in an open area where the vehicles could reach it. This was fortunate as the elephant had to be turned over by one of the cars during the treatment.
The bull had a bullet wound in his leg, which was cleaned and treated, The KWS/DSWT vet Dr. Limo felt that the wound had been treated early and that there was a good chance of a full recovery. This elephant will continue to be monitored and hopefully the remaining elephants will be located and treated in the coming days.
Treatment of Elephant Bull – Ithumba – 14th August 2014
At 9.00 am a report was received about a bull elephant that had been sighted at the Stockade with a spear wound to the right shoulder. The elephant was in a group of 11 wild elephants.
The DSWT pilot collected DSWT/KWS mobile veterinary officer Dr. Poghon in Voi and flew to Ithumba in order to give timely treatment. After a short flight in the SuperCub, Neville spotted the elephant in thick bush. It was decided that because of the difficulties of getting to an elephant in such terrain, the DSWT helicopter would be needed.
In less than an hour the helicopter was on site with the rear doors removed - Dr Poghon sitting behind the DSWT pilot Humphrey Carter, dart gun ready.
Neville guided the helicopter to the correct group of elephants and in no time Dr Poghon had a dart in the elephant. It was a big bull, with a broken left tusk and very strong. It took nearly 20 minutes for the elephant to succumb to the drug
He eventually fell on a road and landed on his right shoulder – wound down – the wrong side! The helicopter landed on the road and Dr Poghon was with the elephant within a few minutes.
The DSWT Ithumba tractor was already pre-briefed and soon on the scene, so the elephant could be pulled over for treatment. This was difficult to do with the steep graded banks on either side of the road, but it was achieved successfully without too much delay. Dr Poghon treated the wound which was not a recent injury but one that definitely required attention, but he is confident that the bull will make a full recovery.