Sky Vets - Best Friends in Trouble in the Maasai Mara

On 30th June 2014, the SWT Nairobi HQ received a call from Mark Goss in the Maasai Mara requesting the SWT funded Sky Vets team to attend to two speared elephant bulls

Immediately a plan was made with KWS Veterinary Officer Dominic Mijele and veterinary equipment and medication was quickly prepared for a flight booked to Olare Orok airstrip in the Mara, where Mark and his ground teams were waiting for this vital veterinary support. Meantime Mark’s scouts on the ground were following the bulls ensuring that they remained in sight while they waited for help to arrive. One of the bulls in trouble had a spear head protruding from his temple with six inches of metal imbedded into his skull. His friend had a spear wound on the leg with a clear entry and exit hole visible. 

The Sky Vets team arrived in good time and were immediately driven to the site where the bulls were located on open plains, which thankfully made the whole darting process easier. The bull with a spear in his head was darted first and he immediately slumped onto his haunches. What was so heartwarming to witness was his injured friend standing vigil over his slumped form. Thankfully he did not fall on the side where the spear head was, which was the fear, as that would have pushed the metal further into his skull. Dominic quickly darted the second bull too so that the team could get to work quickly and efficiently on both the patients simultaneously.

Dr Mijele began working on the bull with the severe head injury and carefully removed the spear head lodged in his skull which immediately caused hemorrhaging from both the temple and the trunk, which was alarming yet expected given the extent of his injury. The wound was soon cleaned and plugged and with the spear head removed this bull’s chance of a full recovery is very positive. 

His recumbent friend who was laying close by with less severe injuries was then attended to. His wounds were treated by Mijele who cleaned them extensively, before administering antibiotics and packing the wounds with green clay, which is a natural substance to ward off infection. Both patients were then given the reversal antidote and in no time they rose to their feet and together ambled off across the plains whilst the team looked on, satisfied with a day’s good work and confident in the knowledge that today everyone involved had made a significant difference in saving the lives of these two precious and magnificent creatures. 

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust funds the Sky Vets initiative in support of the Kenya Wildlife Service enabling timely veterinary intervention to emergency cases throughout the country. This extremely successful initiative is made possible thanks to the generous support of one individual whose financial commitment has saved numerous elephants, rhinos and lions lives, along with many other animals in need.  

Please help support the SWT's veterinary initiatives, however you can, by donating through our website at