Tsavo's Big Tuskers Fight to Evade an Arrow

With the prevailing dry weather, caused by the failure of the May/June rains, there was a general increase in wildlife injury cases within the Tsavo ecosystem this July

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With the prevailing dry weather, caused by the failure of the May/June rains, there was a general increase in wildlife injury cases within the Tsavo ecosystem this July. Deadly arrow wound cases have sadly dominated the Vier Pfoten funded DSWT/KWS Mobile Veterinary Unit's interventions this month, followed closely by snaring.

These arid conditions are expected to continue until November, when it is hoped that the short rains will arrive and alleviate not only the drought but also the illegal activities, namely poaching and human-wildlife conflict, plaguing the area associated partly to the increased tension for water resources.

One such case took place on the 20th July when the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trusts Executive Director, Angela Sheldrick, spotted an injured elephant bull with massive tusks whilst on a field trip at Ithumba.

The Tsavo veterinary unit was immediately contacted and the team were soon en-route to the Ithumba stockades after having had to attend to another case in Satao.

After several hours of waiting at the stockade the veterinary unit soon saw the injured wild bull together with four other males approaching the water trough just before sunset.

Dr Poghon darted the injured bull swiftly in order to examine and treat the wound, which was located between the lower part of the abdomen and the right thigh.

An arrowhead was then removed before making an incision in the lowermost part of the injury in order to drain away the copious amounts of pus and tissue debris, which had accumulated in the wound.

A mixture of iodine and water in a one to one ratio was then used to wash out the infected lesion, followed by a tincture of iodine, oxytetracyline spray and a final coat of green clay to promote the recovery of the wound.

It is hoped that this remarkable big tusker, which is one of a depleting line of big-tusked elephants, will make a full recovery and live a long life, evading the danger of the poachers who so determinedly seek his tusks to satisfy the ever-increasing greed for ivory.