Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Elephant that trampled soldier found

Elephant that trampled soldier found
All blogs that are in italics are from report to parks as their Official Veterinarian and Game Warden for Chobe
Report of Wounded elephant on tar road near Ngoma 29/3/2011 Dr Wilson
We were directed to 10 miles past Noghattsa on road to Ngoma. In a large open area were 7 bull elephants feeding. One had a very swollen right fore leg and was having extreme difficulty in walking.
No obvious wounds were seen so I darted it with Etorphine. We tried to prevent the elephants entering the thick woods adjacent by blocking them with the vehicle but were unsuccessful.
I followed as best I could thru the thick vegetation and had several mock charges from the younger bulls. Visibility was down to 10 meters and quite an uncomfortable situation. After discharging blanks from the dart gun most of the elephants retreated. I would not risk a foot patrol under these conditions so we continued to search with vehicle and luckily found the bull only 20 minutes after darting.
On examination a small caliber bullet hole was evident high up on his right shoulder. I believed this wound was survivable so I proceeded to administer antibiotics. My instinct made me turn around to be staring into 3 barrels of rifles pointed at me.
A BDF patrol had heard the blanks going off and thought we were poachers so they set up an ambush on us. Thank goodness they were well trained. This is the second time in less than 48 hours that I have had a gun pointed at me. (A policeman had shot an AK round over my vehicle the previous night as I was assisting Chobe 911 emergency call from a lodge nearby with possible intruders).
On speaking with the officer in command of this 4 man stick. He informed me that the soldier that had been killed by an elephant last week had shot at least 4 times at the charging elephant. This was information I was not aware of. They were on walking patrol of 4 and apparently a bull elephant just charged them. It trampled and killed one of the men. No other details are available.
The bullet size of the bullet wound and age of the injury coincided with the old bull we had sedated.
We decided that this may very possibly be that elephant and could not take the chance that it might injure someone again.
We euthanized old bull while he was still asleep.

surprise visitors after they stalked us

Being told that soldier shot elephant
Bullet wound
BDF Truck

It was a sad day that I had to Euthanize this elephant.This was a survivable wound. Most elephants in Chobe are not aggressive. It is my belief that this Bull had been exposed to gunshots before and it probably had a relative killed and when it saw BDF soldiers on patrol to catch poachers it recognized the gun and attacked him. I expect more incidents like this in future if we dont stop the poaching.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

First day of Vaccination March 8 2011

First day of Vaccination March 8 2011

If you really want to get a feel of how life is in Kasane, review these photos. Today, March 8, 2011 is the first day that we were vaccinating the community (village) dogs in Kasane and Kazangula, Botswana. Clay’s group (Kasane) alone vaccinated over 180 dogs in 4 hours. We have 3 more days of vaccinations in different locations since most of the villagers do not have transportation.

Clay organized that Veterinary Services, The Department of Wildlife and Parks Services and a few of our friends all help in the vaccination of community (village dogs). Clay was able to procure funding from a grant from Disney, so there was no cost to the people that brought their dogs to get vaccinated against Distemper, Parvo, Rabies and worms. Some of you may remember that we did this last year.

The dogs seemed much healthier this year than the dogs did last year. For those of you living in the US, some of the pictures may seem cruel but most of these dogs do not have much human interaction and are often abused. So, all dogs needed to be muzzled to protect not only the dogs themselves but Clay who was administering the vaccinations and the individuals that were tattooing the dogs. We needed to tattoo the dogs so we would have a permanent record of the vaccinations. Information on how to treat your dog was given out in English and Twetsawna and people were very pleased that we went to this effort to educate the town.

We also had a couple of individuals documenting the dogs and owners information. I tried to also put in some “fun shots” so friends that live in the US can see some of the culture here in Kasane, Botswana. I had to take many shots of the children. They were just so adorable. I hope you enjoy the photos. We managed to Vaccinate 350 dogs in just these 4 days.

 Vaccination Photo Album At Facebook

View YouTube Video for info on Canine Distemper and impact on wildlife, and vaccination of domestic dogs in this project.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Wild Dog passes away

Wild Dog passes away
Report of Wild Dog Treated by CWR


Dr Clay Wilson

Wild dog injured on road to  Katima   On February 21  2011     PAC brought in a severely injured wild dog male approximate lye 9 month old. He had been hit by a car and has a severe spinal injury. He suffered from a spinal shock condition called Sghiff Sherrington in which trauma to upper and middle neck vertebra re damaged and you have a very typical stance of outstretched front legs and paralyzed hind quarters.

The animal was in shock. An intravenous drip was place and shock treatment drugs were administered. Antibiotic and pain killers also. On resolution of shock we x-rayed his spine. To my surprise there was an old spinal fracture at t4 and t6 that had healed with bone spurs formation. Yes is exactly where he must have been hit again as it was a weak spot.

The wild dog was very placid and allowed me to treat him without any sigh of aggression whatsoever. I administered anti-inflammatories and a special drug form USA that regenerates cartilage on a daily basis. I use antacids such as Tagamet in IV to prevent stomach ulceration.

Within 24 hours the front limb extensor rigidity completely resolved itself. Over the nest few days he regained 40 % usage in paralyzed hind legs and was able to move around in the cage which was very rapidly brought from Panda by wardens for his enclosure.

The first 3 days he drank a lot of water and ate 3 large pieces of sirloin steaks. His bowel movements and urination were good. His entire body had been covered in scabs from being hit so hard and scraped along the gravel. He lost much of  his fur due to this, and skin was disinfected and topical antibiotics applied. I had very positive outlook that he would have a full recovery.

On February 28 dog refused to eat so we were feeding him orally with a high energy solution and placed him back on an IV drip

I did a full blood work and apart from slightly elevated liver enzymes probably to intensive drug treatment there was nothing wrong.

After 8 days he just decided to give up I saw it in his eyes. Dog survived for 2 more days and died on Wednesday the 2nd. I was with him at the time of passing.

Full autopsy was performed but no significant changes were seeing. I’m sure the spinal trauma was too much for him and the depression of not being with his pack all summarized to cause his demise.

He was a wonderful animal and this is a great loss to the wild dog community. I have fortunately seen a pack of 17 dogs recently while on patrol and there are all new prides of lions that have reestablished on water front.

I even saw the old one eye female lion that I had treated for severe mastitis a few weeks ago with 3 healthy and playful cubs. There is no doubt cubs and mother would have died if we had not treated them. This gives me joy.

This treatment attempt cost CWR in the Range of  P7000.00

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lions prides re-establish on waterfront

Lions re-establish in ChobeMuch to my utmost happiness 2 new prides of lions have moved in to Chobe waterfront. I have seen 2 large black mane males with about 5 lionesses and a Golden mane with about 4 lionesses. I have no clue where they came from but assume they moved in from Savuit of Zimbabwe. Without satellite tracking collars and genetic typing it will be impossible to tell. It is my hope that I can raise enough funds to be able to purchase collars and do blood testing for various diseases and get a data base for this important ecosystem. As you know it is my belief that last year’s residents all succumbed to Canine Distemper virus transmitted from infected domesticated dogs of Kasane.

I have 1600 doses of dog vaccine in my refrigerator awaiting the wheels of bureaucracy to turn before I can vaccinate community dogs. The vaccination program has been delayed one more week. I am thankful that I have seen no new cases other than the 5 I have seen in the last 3 weeks. It’s so frustrating working in Africa at times but the wheel will turn and we will vaccinate dogs. It was friend from face book that donated funds to make this possible. I apologize to you for not having it done yet. I’m sure it will be OK as I am not seeing explosive outbreak like last year and we will prevent this from spreading into wildlife predators.

We spotted a young male and lioness as we were n a game drive a few days ago walking out of the bush with their mouths dirty from eating. On investigation we discovered an elephant carcass they were feeding on. It was a female about 17 years old with no obvious signs on trauma. There were no wounds from lion scratches and no obvious wounds on side that was visible. No tarry discharges as seen in Anthrax. Cause of death unknown but I suspect it may have been poached.

On the way home a lioness crossed the road. It was old one eye. I have known this cat for over 3 years and had treated her for mastitis a few weeks back. To my utter surprise and happiness 3 beautiful cubs trailed behind her. She is very protective so we did not approach close to her. They are healthy and happy and amused us with their antics. The mother and cubs would have died if I had not treated her and it does my heart good to be able to make a difference.

I have added a few other pictures of the day, for fun