Thursday, February 26, 2009

Elephant with snare on its leg attacks my truck

Elephant with snare on its leg attacks my truck
I was looking at her snared leg through binoculars and could not understand why I could not find her foot. I looked up and she was in a full charge. She had given no indication or warning. I managed to get away with a head butt to the back side of the truck and a tusk through the tailgate.

I came back to look for her but never saw her again.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Elephant with broken hind leg

Elephant with broken hind leg

Elephant with broken hind leg had to be euthanized. He charged me and gave me quite a fright.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

SPCA Spay and Neuter Campaign

SPCA Spay and Neuter Campaign
Spca Spay and neuter Campaign. We used my clinic to sterilize over 300 dogs and cats.

Animals were spayed in a production line. Here they are waking up

Monday, February 2, 2009

Copy of article for newspaper

Tragedy in Kasane
It has been a year now since the extensive remodeling of the Kasane refuse dump commenced. An eye sore, as it is right next to the main road to Chobe, the most beautiful and wildlife rich national park in the world.  I have no idea what the contract entails for the remodeling of the dump but have over the last year seen mounds of dirt moved from one end to the other - there has certainly been a lot of activity. Unfortunately it seems that the procedure of dumping the trash on the ground has not been altered at all. I still see daily mounds of raw trash piling up in the center of the dump, quite visible from the main road.

This pile of trash is an extreme attractant to local wildlife. On a daily basis, flocks of Marabou storks and vultures frequent the site. Troops of baboons and mongoose do a daily pass through, sorting through the filthy piles. At night one can see packs of resident hyenas squabbling over the remains. Often honey badgers will appear. Large gray ghostly outlines of the mighty elephant silently move amongst the rubble.

A walk in the near vicinity of the area finds various types of wildlife living nearby. Waterbuck, Sable antelope, warthog and Impala are plentiful.  The usual smattering of elephant dung is extremely evident. Yet there is something very wrong here. Every pile of elephant dung for miles around has remnants of a very abnormal and obvious addition.  All colours, shapes and sizes of plastic are seen protruding from theses great balls of elephant dung.

Plastic being a man-made and almost indestructible and certainly indigestible material passes right through the digestive system of the animal. Unfortunately in some cases when this plastic builds up in the intestinal tract it will cause a blockage and obstruction that will impede the normal digestive flow.

This leads to an impaction and invariably to a long and painful death for this poor animal. One need not go into these details as the imagination can fill it in.

In the last year there have been 3 cases of obstruction in elephants where the animal had to be put down.  These 3 elephants were within the Kasane city boundary. One can imagine how many undiagnosed cases of elephants are to die in the deep bush out of sight of human eyes.

Fortunately in this case and early diagnosis by local veterinarians and prompt efficient response from the parks and wildlife department did not allow this elephant to suffer for a long time and was shot rapidly and humanely. A blood smear from it indicated it clear of infectious diseases and in this case the community was encouraged to process the animal and tons of nutritious meat was distributed. Due to the prevalence of Anthrax and the current outbreak due to extreme weather conditions ,and due to the fact , that  it is very infectious to people and other wildlife, this distribution of meat is a very rare and discouraged  in the absence of trained professionals and a well equipped laboratory.

I certainly cannot criticize that work has not been done to this dump.  My opinion is that only an electrified well maintained fence or wall will keep these animals out. I have no idea, but assume this is in the plans for the near future. One must realize that the most precious and valuable resource that we have in Chobe is our wildlife. It is the life blood of the tourism industry and we must do everything we can to protect and preserve this. Aesthetics of the surrounding area is a concern as tourists must get the right impression that we care for and love this beautiful country.  We as a community must stand together to improve our environment for future generations to enjoy.  

It is my hope that this project will come to a rapid and successful conclusion. In the case of at least these 4 elephants it was not fast enough.