SKY VET - Treatment of a snared elephant in the Mara

The SkyVet Team has been busy in January treating emergency cases rapidly and effectively

The SkyVet Team has been busy in January treating emergency cases rapidly and effectively.  

On the 5th of January we were called to the Mara after a baby elephant calf was sighted with a horrendous snare wound on its hind leg.   1920’s Cottars camp scouts met the team who flew in early afternoon, and drove them to the Olderekesi Wildlife Conservancy where the snared baby elephant and mother were being monitored in a herd of approximately 12 elephants.

Fred Oring’a, a KWS Vet working with Sky Vet on this case, promptly prepared two darts, and one for the Mum who had a spear wound injury to her back and one for her stricken baby.

Treatment of the calf was carefully done and a cable snare cut away having penetrated deep into the flesh of the left hind leg, almost reaching the bone. It is hard to imagine the unspeakable agony this must have inflicted and snares made from cable in this case, but wire or nylon are undoubtedly the crudest and cruellest form of poaching, causing a slow agonising death, indiscriminately ensnaring their prey,  as when this snare was laid by poachers it was not intended for a baby elephant.   Once the snare was removed the wound was cleaned and treated before the team rushed to attend to the spear injury to the mother’s back which thankfully, while deep, did not appear too bad.   They were both revived just as daylight faded and were able to regroup back with their herd before night fell as the herd waited patiently close by.  It was as if they knew help had come. 


The wound was so severe that the prognosis for this calf to heal in a wild situation remains guarded, and a follow up veterinary treatment will take place in a couple of weeks and in the meantime the baby is being closely monitored.