On Saturday 12th January the DSWT staff at the Voi reintegration stockades received a message from a tour operator that a lame elephant had been sighted near Aruba. The DSWT Keepers and staff headed to the area and identified the elephant. It was a 12 year old bull with a very sore front left leg. A report was quickly sent to the DSWT Nairobi HQ, and a veterinary office was lined up from the KWS HQ to be driven down to Tsavo. He arrived at the DSWT Field HQ late Saturday afternoon where he spent the night.
The following morning the DSWT Voi stockade team set out early and located the elephant. It was raining at the DSWT HQ, which delayed the departure of the vet in the Trusts aerial surveillance plane. At 8.30am the rain stopped and the vet was on his way with our Tsavo Pilot. At 9am the plane landed at the Aruba airstrip in Tsavo East and was met by the DSWT vehicle. After a short drive to the elephant, a quick assessment of the animal and a few minutes to set up the dart, the vet was ready. Soon a dart was fired and hit its target on the rump of the bull, which was soon asleep within five minutes. The wound proved to be a possible gunshot through the left ankle, in one side and out the other. The vet quickly cleaned up the injury, administered antibiotics and filled the wound with green clay. The DSWT team kept the elephant cool by splashing water on its ears, and after 20 minutes the wake-up drug was administered to a vein in the elephants ear. Within 3 minutes the bull was awake, got on to its feet, and hobbled off into the bush. Joint wounds are particularly challenging, especially in the front leg. It is hoped that this young elephant will pull through and recover, and regroup with its herd. vIn the meantime the DSWT team will monitor it when possible.