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Vets Save Elephant After It Is 'Speared For Crossing Into Human Land'

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Vets Save Elephant After It Is 'Speared For Crossing Into Human Land'

WARNING: CONTAINS DISTRESSING CONTENT

An elephant had to be saved by vets after it was speared by people in Kenya, supposedly to drive him off human land.

The animal, believed to be in his 50s, was found by visitors at the Mara Conservancy, with conservationists saying he appeared to have been attacked when he crossed over into an area that used to be elephant territory.

Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT), a Kenyan conservation charity, were called out to the conservancy on 11 August, arriving by helicopter to find that the elephant had developed an infection in his tail, and also had a maggot-infested wound.

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Credit: Caters/Sheldrick Wildlife Trust/Mia Collis
Credit: Caters/Sheldrick Wildlife Trust/Mia Collis

The trust's mobile veterinary unit, operated in partnership with the Kenya Wildlife Service, treated the elephant, cleaning his infected tail and administering antibiotics and anti-inflammatories.

One ranger also had to place a stick inside his trunk to keep his airways open so that he could breathe.

Rob Brandford, executive director at the SWT, said: "We suspect he was speared when he travelled across land that was once elephant territory, but has since been appropriated by man, built on for development and agriculture, blocking traditional routes of elephant migration.

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Credit: Caters/Sheldrick Wildlife Trust/Mia Collis
Credit: Caters/Sheldrick Wildlife Trust/Mia Collis

"One ranger wedged a stick in his trunk to keep his airways open, while another gently flopped an ear over his eye to shield him from the glaring sun. They then manoeuvred the bull's giant tail to inspect the damage. His injury was heavily infected and full of maggots."

Thankfully, the animal was soon back on his feet, and has been given a positive prognosis.

Brandford continued: "Thanks to this urgent intervention, KWS Vet Dr. Limo has given him a good prognosis for recovery, and now he is deep in the Masai Mara National Reserve, where we hope he will remain to convalesce in safety.

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Credit: Caters/Sheldrick Wildlife Trust/Mia Collis
Credit: Caters/Sheldrick Wildlife Trust/Mia Collis
Credit: Caters/Sheldrick Wildlife Trust/Mia Collis
Credit: Caters/Sheldrick Wildlife Trust/Mia Collis

"Even in slumber, this elephant looked majestic and regal! He has wandered the earth longer than many people reading about his story which serves as a poignant reminder of the changing world elephants must grapple with.

"He is truly a magnificent fellow, well into his 50s or possibly even his 60s, with ivory worn from years of survival."

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Credit: Caters/Sheldrick Wildlife Trust/Mia Collis
Credit: Caters/Sheldrick Wildlife Trust/Mia Collis

Brandford said in his half-century of life, the elephant has seen a 'shrinking habitat and a growing human footprint', both of which lead to 'inevitable conflict'.

"Human-wildlife conflict is a growing threat facing elephants across the world - from animals being electrocuted by power lines to killings in retaliation to crop raiding," Brandford added.

"To date, the SWT-funded Mobile Vet Units has attended to 2,772 elephants through our veterinary initiatives - that's around seven percent of Kenya's entire elephant population."

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Featured Image Credit: Caters/Sheldrick Wildlife Trust/Mia Collis

Topics: News, elephants, Kenya, Animals

Jess Hardiman
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