During the April to June 2016, 3-month reporting period, the DSWT in partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service and their four dedicated KWS field veterinary officers, attended to 75 wildlife cases.
Of the 75 cases attended 41 cases included elephants; 8 with arrow wounds, 2 with bullet wounds, 3 with snare injuries and 9 cases which were caused by spear wounds. There were also 3 elephant rescues, 3 human-wildlife conflict cases and 1 elephant collaring operation. Other elephant cases included injuries related to natural causes and a postmortem of natural caused death.
During this period 4 Rhino cases were also attended to including 2 with bullet wounds, one of which was sadly a pregnant female found dead on arrival with its horns missing; the other was successfully treated and a follow-up operation revealed he had much improved. The vet teams also attended to 12 Lion cases; 5 of the lion cases were due to natural causes, whilst there were 3 collarings, 1 human- wildlife conflict case, 2 relocations and 1 case where a lion cub was suspected to be ill but was actually healthy on assessment by the team.
A number of other species including Cheetah, Leopard, Giraffe, Wild Dog, Crocodiles, an Aardvark and a variety of plains game were also treated by the four veterinary units throughout this period. 62% of cases during this reporting period were successfully treated with 34% of cases recorded as being caused by poaching activities.
There were 8 human-wildlife conflict (HWC) cases in total during this period (outside of relocations which also are necessary to relieve human-wildlife conflict), which included an elephant hit by a train and a wild dog and an aardvark hit by a vehicle. Another case included a lioness which strayed into a cattle enclosure and had to be sedated and removed before it was killed by the owners, whilst a leopard was euthanized after reportedly killing a standard gauge railway worker. One giraffe was also killed after it became caught in a wire fence and the team were called in sadly too late to save it. One elephant was also injured whilst crop raiding and another elephant, Bobo, was treated successfully for an arrow wound but was then fatally wounded by a spear following another raid on crop farms.
Human-wildlife conflict is a growing threat to Kenya’s wildlife and the DSWT’s ground teams are all on the alert for potential conflict in known problem areas, whilst the Trust is soon to be launching a new Community-Wildlife Conflict Resolution Unit in the Tsavo Conservation Area with a team trained to deal specifically in such incidents with the communities and help prevent further conflict.