Unveiling the foгmіdаЬɩe Giants: Discovering the ѕeсгet Powers of Bull Elephants

Unveiling the foгmіdаЬɩe Giants: Discovering the ѕeсгet Powers of Bull Elephants

A Huge Effort to Provide Further Medical Care for a Large Male ElephantStanding tall with a body reaching the skies and long tusks grazing the ground, a mature bull elephant may seem invulnerable. Yet, these majestic creatures are surprisingly fragile, often becoming targets due to their immense size.

A large bull in Kilifi County was first spotted on June 25, 2023, with a severe injury to his front right ankle, possibly caused by a spear. The SWT/KWS Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit swooped in to provide treatment and discovered that the spear had pierced the ankle joint, a challenging injury for an elephant to recover from. Despite the grim outlook, the bull managed to stand up after receiving care. Dr. Limo cautiously predicted a difficult road to recovery for the injured bull.

Over the coming days and weeks, the SWT Aerial Unit closely observed the patient’s progress, ensuring that he was recovering well. Handling giant animals like elephants requires unique care, as they cannot be sedated again until the effects of the initial anaesthesia have fully worn off. As a result, we often have to wait for several weeks before administering any follow-up treatment.

The team worked quickly to schedule the second round of treatment, which took place just 18 days after the first operation. Due to the elephant’s large size and weakened state, we anticipated that it would be a challenging task. It was highly probable that he would not have the energy to stand up on his own after the treatment, so we had to prepare for this possibility by bringing in additional help. This assistance came in the form of a backhoe and crane truck, which would be used to lift him back onto his feet if needed.

To provide insight into the coordination involved in such an operation, here is a breakdown of the pre-treatment preparations:1. Obtain transport permits for the backhoe2. Pick up the SWT/KWS Mount Kenya Mobile Vet Unit via the SWT aircraft at Kaluku3. Fuel and ready the backhoe, crane truck, and low-bed truck, along with their drivers4. Ensure the roads are suitable for the low-bed truck5. Departure of low-bed/backhoe and crane truck from Kaluku Field Headquarters at 3:00 am6. Kaluku ground team embarks at 5:00 am, a six-hour journey by road7. Galana team and SWT/KWS Kulalu 2 Anti-Poaching Team mobilize for ground support8. Team discusses plans near the treatment site and assesses the feasibility of off-road travel for the crane truck9. If the conditions allow, the SWT helicopter transports the SWT/KWS Mount Kenya Mobile Vet Unit to the location for treatment10. An alternative plan is developed if off-road travel is not possible

Fortunately, we were able to proceed with the treatment at step nine without any issues. Dr. Poghon tranquilized the bull from the air, and it fell asleep in an open area. After cleaning the wound and administering medications, the revival drug was given.

There was a tense silence in the air as all eyes were fixed on the bull, worried about what would happen next. The injury had definitely left its mark, and there was a genuine fear that he might not be able to stand up on his own. To be safe, the team quickly secured ropes around his tusks and had the backhoe ready to assist. And just in case things took a turn for the worse, the crane truck was also standing by.

Fortunately, fortune favored us this time around. The bull managed to pick himself up and proudly stood on his own. Dr. Poghon was cautiously optimistic about his recovery, noting the bull’s ability to rise unaided. The location where he currently is has an abundance of food and water, reducing the need for him to go far for nourishment as he heals.

Unfortunately, there is still a chance that this bull may not make a full recovery, which is truly devastating considering how a single well-placed spear could potentially end his reign of majesty. Despite the odds, we have done everything in our power to give him the best shot at survival. If necessary and feasible, we will administer further treatment in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, both ground and aerial crews will be closely watching over his progress.

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