Masai Mara National Reserve is one of the best game viewing areas in the world. This coupled with the Maasai people culture attracts thousands of tourists to this unique destination every year bringing in to the country massive amounts of foreign currency that supports the local economy in a big way. In year 2010, total earnings from the tourism industry surpassed the billion dollar mark and it’s still growing. The growth in this sector is highly supported by Kenya’s Wildlife since most visitors enjoy viewing wildlife in their natural environment.
Kenya’s economic wellbeing is firmly anchored on tourism and this is clearly highlighted in the country’s ambitious blueprint otherwise referred to as “Vision 2030”the year by which Kenya will supposedly transform to a middle income nation. This will become a reality only if the country’s main resource that drives tourism which is wildlife is protected and conserved for future generations to derive their livelihoods from it.
At the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, we recognize all these facts and our endeavor is to see wildlife thriving in all parts of the country so that all Kenyans can benefit and appreciate the importance of conserving all the animals and the environment in which these animals thrive. That’s why we value every single animal and we will always go out of our way to treat injured ones, rescue the ones that are orphaned and invest in local communities through conservation education.
When it rains in Masai Mara it’s usually very muddy and most of the wildlife moves out to the community lands. This has its merits and demerits. First it allows the vegetation in the reserve to regenerate and flourish. But outside the protected area there are risks posed to the wildlife by humans and human activities.
On this occasion a Rhino surveillance unit came across an adult male Masai giraffe with a long spear protruding on its back. The location was just on the periphery of the Reserve and that particular giraffe family is known to move in and out of the reserve from time to time. The patrol team immediately notified the Mara Vet Unit via mobile telephone and the response was prompt. The Patrol unit had kept guard of the giraffe until we arrived at the scene.
Giraffe immobilization is tricky in that the animal cannot go down on its own. That’s why and where the capture rangers come in handy by roping the animal down and to keep it down the head has to be held down to avoid it standing up or in so trying smash its head down. Again due to the long neck and location of the brain, the animal’s respiration and thermoregulation are affected by the anesthesia and therefore the operation has to be very fast and immediately administer the revival drug.
Once we got there the immobilization drug was quickly prepared and the giraffe was darted. By the use of a binocular, one could tell the full dose had discharged and ten minutes later the giraffe was fully narcotized and the capture ropes came in handy for the vet unit to rope the animal down. Once down, the long spear was pulled out and the wound cleaned thoroughly and disinfected. Intramuscular antibiotics were administered too and the giraffe was revived. He stood up in two minutes and ran to join the family members who were browsing on some nearby Acacia tortilis trees.
The Mara vet unit derives immeasurable satisfaction from every life of an animal that we save. We thank all our partners including the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the Kenya Wildlife Service, Masai Mara National Reserve Management, all our donors and partners for the keen interest in the work done by the Mara Vet Unit. Without your support all this would not have been possible. Thank You.
Micheni Felix- Mara Vet Unit.