“The Shocking Encounter: A Cable Snare Traps an Elephant in the Shimba Hills”

On April 16th, we were informed of a distressing incident that took place at the Shimba Hills. A lone elephant was seen at the KWS airstrip with a cable snare wrapped tightly around her front left leg. The wound was so severe that it had cut to the bone, leaving the poor animal incapacitated and separated from her herd.

As soon as we received the call for assistance, we sprang into action and organized a ‘Sky Vet’ mission. Our trusty Cessna 206 was ready to go and took off from Kaluku promptly at 1:30 PM. The team consisted of KWS vet Dr. Poghon, who was waiting for us in Voi. From there, it took us just thirty minutes to reach our destination – the Shimba Hills National Reserve, situated on the south coast of Kenya.

Upon landing on the airstrip, we were greeted by KWS rangers, scouts, and the owners of a private property on the ridgeline, all eager to assist us in our mission. Thanks to our quick response, we were able to provide timely medical care to the animals in need.

Early in the day, the elephant that was caught in a trap was spotted for the last time at 6am. Given the injury, it was improbable that the animal had gone too far. The ground teams dispersed into two groups and began their search, ultimately discovering the elephant concealed among dense vegetation. This signaled Dr. Poghon to approach and administer a tranquilizer dart, but it proved to be a difficult task due to the thick foliage. After much difficulty, the veterinarian was able to seize a brief opportunity and successfully shoot the dart.

Once the elephant was sedated, the team sprang into action to help the poor animal. The snare that had trapped it was made of thick wire cable, like the ones used in heavy-duty winches. It had wound itself so tightly around the elephant’s leg that the team had to delicately coax it loose before they could even use their bolt cutters. Once they removed the snare completely, they cleaned and treated the wound with painkillers, anti-inflammatories, and antibiotics.

In just half an hour of administering treatment, the patient was able to stand up on her own two feet again. It must have been such a relief for her to finally be rid of the wire trap. She made her way to the Shimba Hills, most likely with the intention of finding her herd. However, considering the severity of her injury, it is highly probable that she will require further medical attention in the future. The local teams will keep us informed about her progress and condition.

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