Published on the 11th of May, 2016
In the month of April three elephant treatments took place within the Tsavo Conservation area using DSWT’s helicopter and Super Cub.
Against the backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro on the 11th of April, an elephant bull was treated for a suspected spear wound on his foot. He was first spotted limping near the Amboseli National Park Kimana gate by KWS rangers who immediately notified the DSWT funded Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Team headed by KWS Veterinary Office Jeremiah Poghon. In an effort to save time the team were airlifted to the area using the Trust’s aircraft and located him feeding close to where he was first identified.
The dart gun was prepared and the team slowly trailed the bull in a vehicle so as not to alarm him. Once stationary beside a grassy area he was darted in the rump and immobilised after 12 minutes. Not unsurprisingly for such a large bull he fell with a thud, on his haunches and was pushed over by the team so that he lay recumbent on his side with the injured foot exposed easily for treatment.
Dr Poghon and the team set to work right away. From the outset the wound on the front, fore foot looked almost superficial, but upon closer examination Dr Poghon found it was a spear wound which alarmingly penetrated right through the sole of his foot.
The injury was already becoming infected and the bull could risk the infection spreading either into the blood stream or to the rest of his foot, with dire consequences. Using large syringes the dirt and debris were cleaned from the wound and the dead and necrotic tissue cut away. Although he was given a good prognosis Dr Poghon suggested follow up treatment after one month. After reversing the anaesthetic this beautiful boy gradually awoke and rose to his feet ambling slowly away confused by events. KWS will monitor him in the coming weeks and if required he will receive a second treatment.