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 Sky Vets in Action in the Mara - 4/4/2014
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At 9am on the 4th April a call was received from Governor’s Camp in the Masai Mara about a lioness named ‘Siena’, who was injured on her left lower flank by the horn of a buffalo bull one kilometre west of the marsh culvert.

This lioness, who is a dominant member of the Marsh pride, was born within the marsh environs and had recently given birth to three cubs. She was found to have a dangerously deep wound but luckily without perforations to the stomach wall or any bone dislocation.

Siena is a dominant member of the Marsh Pride  The lioness's wound was deep and extensive

The horn of a buffalo had caused a large injury to the flank

The DSWT immediately deployed a Kenya Wildlife Service veterinarian, Dr Njoroge, from Nairobi and organised an aircraft for him to the Mara which arrived at Musiara at 2.41 pm. The Narok County Council Officers were present as well as members of staff from Governors Camp, who kindly organized transport for Dr Njoroge and the team from the airstrip to the lioness.

Treatment started at 3.50pm after the lioness was successfully darted. Moments after she was tranquilised a sub-adult lioness promptly sauntered up to Siena, who was still standing, and effectively removed the dart as if she was trained to do so. Thankfully the drugs had already taken effect and Siena safely lay asleep for her treatment whilst the rest of the pride was kept at bay.

A sub-adult lioness removes the transquiliser dart   The vet examines the severity of the wound

The wound was extensive and involved the soft tissues and the skin. The vet cleaned the wound using normal saline and then sutured it closed.

The wound is cleaned with normal saline  The wound needed a lot of stitches

Next the vet had to stitch the skin back together  The wound is almost closed

Finally, the vet applied Oxytetracycline spray and ointment. Green clay was also applied to the wound to accelerate healing. Long lasting antibiotics, Betamox and dexamethasone, were administered through intramuscular injection to prevent against infection.

It took over 1 hour to stitch the lioness  The sutures were finally finished

Oxytetracycline spray was applied to the wound  The wound was covered in green clay to accelerate healing

The lioness’s treatment took approximately 1½ hours and was a great success. Soon after revival Siena was able to join the rest of the pride which were waiting near-by. With all teams working effectively and efficiently together the life of this lion and her cubs was saved.

The tranquilliser was reversed  The lioness walks off to join the rest of her pride

 

48 hours after the treatment of Siena, DSWT received a report from Governors Camp saying that

“the healing powers of large cats is amazing and this afternoon to see this lioness walking with her cubs and also squatting to release urine while she showed little remorse or pain was amazing, we only hope that she continues to improve. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust we thank you for your efficiency and stamina, and thanks to the veterinary surgical services from the Kenya Wildlife Services, the Narok County Council and empathic concern of the Governors Camp staff.”

Siena with her cubs  Siena squats seemingly easily

   

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