By Max Silvester
On the 25th of June our ranger team, having sighted a large bull elephant with an obvious limp, began a monitoring and surveillance operation. When it became apparent that the bull’s injury and obvious discomfort was not subsiding any time soon, the call was made for further action – a KWS (Kenya Wildlife Service) vet team was brought in with the aim of darting the pachyderm, examining the wound, and administrating the appropriate medicine – no mean feat!
This huge elephant (a fully mature bull) luckily dropped to the ground in a manner that allowed for the vet team to get to work on the obviously swollen front left foot. Had the elephant fallen awkwardly, it would have been a huge uphill battle to move him. Even the usual method using four-wheel drive cars and ropes would have struggled to shift his immense mass.
It became obvious that the wound was caused by a bullet which had entered the foot having grazed the trunk. This shot could have been fired in one of the regions where human wildlife conflict continues to plague both wildlife and human populations alike. Another theory advocates that this wound is the result of a botched poaching attempt, which aligns with the fact this individual elephant was sporting huge tusks by modern Laikipia’s standards, estimated to weigh up to 40 kg. Luckily the intelligence of this bull, in moving quickly to a place of safety Loisaba Conservancy, allowed the rangers and the vet team to assure his wound was treated successfully and he continues to roam Laikipia as a testament to his forefathers, the huge tuskers before him.
Meanwhile our ranger team (with a few remaining to monitor the elephant) rushed off to treat a giraffe with a split hoof, showing that as the world limps out of lockdowns induced by the virus, wildlife operations continue regardless – full steam ahead.
If you would like to help us maintain zero poaching levels, keep our rangers on the ground, protect endangered species and support local communities who have no access to healthcare, please donate today. Even a small donation will make a huge difference to Loisaba’s conservation and community development work.