A sub-adult female elephant was first reported on the 19th of June 2016 having been sighted with a snare around its trunk by the DSWT/KWS Anti-Poaching Team based in Meru National Park. Sadly, the elephant disappeared before veterinary intervention could be deployed and was not located again until the 16th August despite weeks of searching by the DSWT and KWS teams.
Two months later she was sighted again by the teams on the ground who had finally found her within a herd of 70 elephants still with the snare attached to her trunk. The Sky Vet Unit was immediately mobilised from Nairobi with KWS Veterinary Officer Dr Fred Olian’ga flying to the site in a helicopter on the afternoon of the 16th.
The veterinary team found the young female with the snare cutting into the flesh around the base of the trunk in close proximity to the mouth. It was noted that she was in good body condition and the snare had not cut too deeply through the soft tissue of the trunk.
The elephant was swiftly and successfully darted from the helicopter and was sedated after five minutes. The vet team got to work quickly and the braided wire snare was gently exposed from the soft tissue before being cut loose. The wound, which luckily had no pus or maggots, was cleaned thoroughly before green clay was applied topically to help the wound to heal and anti-biotics were administered.
The reversal of the anaesthetic went smoothly and she got up slowly and steadily before walking away with significant relief having been freed from her painful infliction. The Sky Vet team gave this elephant a good prognosis for full recovery as the wound was not septic and the snare was removed in time having not yet penetrated too deeply into the soft tissue.
This is a great outcome thanks to the combined efforts of our DSWT/KWS ground teams and the Sky Vet program. This elephant will be monitored closely by the teams to ensure her recovery is swift, whilst the anti-poaching teams operating in the greater Meru area and the DSWT’s dedicated Meru Unit will continue to patrol, collecting snares, tracking poachers and making arrests to ensure further incidents like this are prevented.