“Surviving a Poisoned Arrow Wound: The Man Who Defeated Infection for Weeks”

Over time, our stockades have become a sanctuary for injured wild elephants in need of help. It’s always a touching experience to see these majestic creatures recognize us as a safe haven, despite being harmed by humans in most cases. On July 10th, a stunning wild bull with a septic wound caused by poisoned arrows arrived at our Ithumba Reintegration Unit. We promptly contacted our Kaluku operations room, and our team flew to Voi to fetch KWS veterinarian Dr. Poghon and his crew while ground teams monitored the bull’s movements. When the vet team arrived, the bull was moving through dense vegetation, but we were ready. Our helicopter was on standby to dart the patient from the air.

His injury on the side was severely infected, with decaying flesh hanging from the abscess.

Despite a heavily infected poisoned arrow wound, the elephant displayed remarkable resilience. Even with the effects of anaesthesia setting in, it took some time for him to give in. The team tried to move him to an open area where they could treat him better, but working with wildlife is unpredictable and the bull had other ideas. He stubbornly pushed deeper into the bush before finally collapsing after ten minutes, still in dense vegetation but fortunately with his injury exposed.
The medical team immediately began treating the septic wound, which involved removing the dead tissue and draining an enormous amount of pus. One can only imagine how much agony the elephant was in. Thankfully, he arrived at our stockades before the injury became life-threatening, and Dr. Poghon believes he will make a full recovery.

To promote healing, the dead tissue was taken out.

After a detailed cleaning of the wound, we made sure to treat it with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. Currently, we are keeping a close eye on the patient’s recovery process, while our other field teams are working in collaboration with KWS to determine the location of the attack and bring the perpetrators to justice. To accomplish this goal, we have initiated an extensive aerial surveillance operation in the region, and our Anti-Poaching Teams and Canine Units are actively pursuing any potential leads.

As he leaped through the sky, Dr Poghon skillfully targeted and struck the bull with precision.

The bull had sustained serious wounds on his leg and abdomen after being speared, and our SWT/KWS Tsavo Mobile Vet Unit was called to provide life-saving treatment. This incident followed another emergency where the same vet team had to roll him over to access the two wound sites. Our fixed-wing pilot flew to Voi to pick up Dr Poghon and his team, while our helicopter went directly to the scene. All parties met at Ol Donyo lodge, where the bull was drinking from the waterhole.

After the team had turned over the object, they could proceed with their tasks.

After receiving medical attention for his injuries, which fortunately were not life-threatening, Dr. Poghon got onto a helicopter to tranquilize the bull from above. The bull cooperated this time and remained in an open area while the anesthesia took effect. However, he fell on his back, making it difficult to access the wounds. The ground team swiftly intervened and placed straps around the bull to gently turn him over.
With the bull now lying on his side, the treatment was straightforward. Dr. Poghon cleaned out both wounds thoroughly before administering anti-inflammatory medication and antibiotics. Thankfully, the wounds were not too deep and had not progressed to an advanced state of septicity. Therefore, the bull is expected to make a full recovery. Thanks to the quick and coordinated efforts of our team, both bulls will hopefully continue to roam the Greater Tsavo Conservation Area for years to come.

Following the medical intervention, the bull stood up and walked away at a leisurely pace.

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