Mara Vet Unit helps a young snared elephant in August 2011

Masai Mara is divided into two parts each administered by the local council in which the area falls in

Share the article

Masai Mara is divided into two parts each administered by the local council in which the area falls in. The two local councils are divided by the Mara River which cuts through the famous Masai Mara. One of the parts that falls in the Trans Mara district is managed by the Mara Conservancy which is headed by one Bryan Heath and whenever necessary they usually give the Mobile Vet Unit a call for prompt response. On this particular occasion it was a bull elephant that had two spear wounds on the flank and shoulder and required immediate veterinary attention. As we attended to the injured bull another patrol unit was scouring the bushes and endless plains of Mara in search of an Elephant calf about 6 months old spotted a day earlier with a tight cable snare round its front left leg. The search went on initially without success but in the afternoon the young calf was spotted together with her family just as they were entering into a nearby impenetrable river line forest.

Fortunately one week later, the calf was again spotted by a patrol team late in the afternoon on Tuesday 22nd Aug 2011. Since we were across the river and going round through a bridge would have seen us loose crucial time, we used a boat to cross the swollen Mara River and a waiting Mara Conservancy Land Rover picked us up and drove us to where the calf was with her family. She was walking with a lot of difficulty and lower part of her leg was very swollen. We started with the challenging task of splitting the big Elephant herd into smaller manageable groups. When the calf was darted, the family, especially the mother, became very aggressive. When the calf went down with anesthesia, other family members fled but the mother was left behind making frantic efforts to lift up the calf in vain. With some persuasion the angry mother agreed to leave the calf so that the vet team could attend to her suffering baby. The tight cable was removed and the wound thoroughly cleaned to forestall any further infection and later Long Acting Antibiotic Injections used together with anti inflammatory drugs to ease off the pain and swelling.
A few moments later the calf was revived from the drugs and was successfully able to reunite with the mother who was anxiously waiting a few yards away. The other family members had stopped and were also waiting a short distance away.
To everyone who was involved in this life saving operation starting with the DSWT, KWS, Bryan Heath and Mara Conservancy, Care for the Wild and Ann K. Taylor fund all our donors and supporters wherever you are, we say thank you for your invaluable support that you have accorded us over the years to save the sick and or injured animals in our jurisdiction. Micheni Felix- Mara Vet Unit.