Published on the 15th of November, 2016
On the 12th October 2016 in the late afternoon it was noted that while several wild herds numbering 200 plus were coming and going from a waterhole within a Conservancy on neighbouring ranches between Tsavo East and West National Park, one herd never moved away. The Conservancy managers noticed that a female kept coming close to the fence, and was looking somewhat sad, almost as if pleading for help. They sensed something was wrong and inspected her more closely, and then realized she had an object protruding from her side. Immediately the DSWT funded Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit was alerted, however with not much day light left in the day, the decision was made to operate the following day.
The Conservancy Anti-Poaching team woke early to follow the herd's tracks and followed them through the bush into the late morning, finally circling back to the waterhole, as the female had returned with her family to drink in the heat of the day, and again pensively stood at the fence. Once the Vet Team were on hand they were amazed to establish that the female in trouble was in fact Ex Orphan Emily, and the herd that accompanied her was her herd of Ex Orphans.
Dr. Poghon set about darting and treating Emily right away and it was not long before she succumbed to the drugs and fell onto the side where the object had been protruding from. The team worked efficiently turning her over and immediately started treatment. The protrusion was removed, a small handmade arrow head, a sign that this was an incident of human wildlife conflict rather than an intentional poaching incident. With two hundred elephants in the area, human wildlife conflict is very often amplified at this time of year due to the abnormally dry conditions, and it has been a brutal dry season. This, coupled with the disruption the building of the Standard Gauge Railway has had on the movement of wildlife, who historically leave the boundaries of the Park and venture onto the vast ranch lands that lie between Tsavo East and West National Parks, rich in browse and very necessary to sustain the elephants in difficult times. After treatment, Emily soon got back to her feet and immediately joined her family who had stood by waiting patiently a short distance away, understanding that Emily was receiving help. In the days that passed the Conservancy Management were able to keep a close eye on the comings and goings of the herd as they came to the waterhole, and thankfully Emily's wound was quick to heal once the crude arrow had been removed; healing totally in a few short days.