On the 4th of August a report from Big Life’s security scouts was received concerning an injured bull elephant on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro near Amboseli National Park. Together with the Kenyan Wildlife Service, the DSWT mobilized the DSWT funded Sky Vet to attend the case with KWS veterinarian Dr. Titus Kaitho.
The DSWT helicopter was also called to assist with this case due to the difficult lava rock terrain which made access to the elephant’s location extremely challenging. Guided to the area by Big Life’s Team Leader the Vet from Nairobi, the DSWT helicopter pilot and KWS rangers converged close to the scene. The men then prepared themselves for the operation ahead. Once ready and everyone was fully briefed Dr. Kaitho and the DSWT pilot Humphrey Carter went up in the helicopter to gently guide the injured bull off the lava flow onto flatter and more suitable ground.
The elephant was darted from the chopper once on flat ground and the teams immediately moved in on foot the moment the bull fell down. Water was poured onto his ears in order to keep him cool and a stick was placed in his trunk to ensure he could breathe unhindered throughout the treatment.
It soon became evident that he had a spear wound on his left ankle, but thankfully while it was heavily infected it seemed to not have fractured any bone or damaged the joint. The wound was cleaned well; antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs were administered whilst a final coating of the magic green clay was applied. Once the team was satisfied and after a 20 minute treatment the sleeping bull was given the revival antidote.
Just as the helicopter started to take off from the scene the bull rose to his feet, looked towards both the retreating team on foot and the helicopter still on the ground as if to say thank you, and slowly moved off into the bush. A cross was sprayed on his back to help the teams to keep a close eye on him in the coming days and weeks in case a follow up treatment is required but the prognosis for a full recovery is extremely hopeful.