In the heart of the Mount Kenya Forest Reserve, a courageous team undertook a challenging mission to save a young bull entangled in a thick rope.
This heroic endeavor unfolded over four days, navigating treacherous terrains, overcoming aerial obstacles, and showcasing the unwavering determination of those committed to preserving life.
The saga commenced on January 20 when KWS rangers discovered a distressed elephant ensnared by a tight rope around its right front leg.
The SWT/KWS Mount Kenya Mobile Veterinary Unit initiated a search-and-rescue operation, braving dense forests until they located the wounded bull as night fell.
Despite initial challenges in administering anesthesia due to the formidable terrain and the elephant’s defensive charges, the team remained undeterred.
Undaunted by obstacles, the team regrouped and enlisted the Sky Vets initiative the next day. A helicopter, landing on a small patch amidst swamplands, transported KWS veterinarian Dr. Njoroge to the scene.
Aerial attempts to dart the patient faced unexpected challenges, with thick vegetation shielding the elephant. However, the ground teams persisted, pursuing the elusive patient.
The third attempt on January 22 exhibited renewed determination. Ground teams, supported by aerial efforts from a fixed-wing airplane, pressed on with the search. Despite locating the elephant deep in the forest, treatment remained elusive.
GPS coordinates were recorded to monitor his movements, laying the groundwork for a breakthrough on the fourth day.
Finally, the elephant moved to a water hole in a more accessible part of the forest. Undeterred, the team waded through rivers and traversed swamps, staying on the bull’s trail.
Faced with an increasingly difficult situation, the team improvised, opting to anesthetize the elephant from the safety of a treetop.
Dr. Njoroge landed the dart from a tree about 20 meters away with precision and patience. After a brief tracking period, the bull succumbed to the anesthesia next to a stream.
The team meticulously removed the snare, addressing the deep abrasions and septic wounds caused by the rope.
Topical and intramuscular medications and antibiotics were administered to aid healing.
The anesthesia was reversed, and after a few minutes, the bull rose to his feet, disappearing into the bush.
Monitors will track the bull’s recovery over the next two weeks, but the prognosis is optimistic. At approximately 15 years old, this bull, yet to reach the prime of his life, narrowly escaped tragedy.
The rescue team’s collaborative efforts and unwavering perseverance ensured that he was granted a second chance at life, symbolizing a triumph of compassion and dedication in the face of adversity.
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