Saturday, December 22, 2012

WHAT I LEARNED THIS LAST YEAR A year after deportation and picking myself up and moving forward here are some of my thoughts

 What I have learned in life and of wildlife this year

“In my heart I believe that people are good, but my experience has shown me otherwise.”

“Unless you are directly affected by some issue whether it be conservation or politics you are not going to do anything about it.”

“If you donate to most non-profit organizations that prey on your emotions to extort monies more than likely only 5% of the funds reach the persons on the ground frontlines.”

“If you want loyalty get a dog.”

“True love takes time.”

“I have always been spiritual in my soul, I know angels have been protecting me all my life I finally acknowledged my faith and life has been wonderful since then”.

“Treat everyone as an equal and you gain their respect.”

“You can learn everything about life by observing wildlife.”

“You can’t lead a happy life without passion.”

From Fred a veterinary assistant in Kenya after being charged by wounded elephant…..

Day 1 “Dr I learned something new today… age doesn’t matter.. But you are crazy.”

Day 10 “Dr I learned something new this week … “Not all white men are the same.”

It’s been a year of mixed emotions and I have always said you can’t show weakness so “ you shut up, you buck up . And you carry on”

“Have fun don’t sweat the small things…Life is short.. Make a difference”

“Age gracefully the other alternative we will all find out”.

“You can’t make a spring chicken out of an old rooster”.

“My disabled dog Tacca Roo doesn’t know she is disabled and she is pure love”.

“Give form the heart and you will receive tenfold back”.

“Vindictiveness gets you nowhere but the facts will”.

“Stand your ground your integrity is all you really have”

“When you lose it all you have you realize what is important in life”.

“Material possessions are just things”.

“Every day brings a new opportunity, if doors close others open”.

“Never give up until you are dust”.

“Speak what you believe is true in your heart it will often get you in deep trouble but you will sleep soundly at night”.

“Always tell the truth lies are always revealed”.

(I have no clue where this all came from I feel like my words just poured out of me with no forethought  … divine intervention once again.)

I have been blessed to have the opportunity to work with Sheldricks elephant orphanage and get much closed to elephants that I was able to in the wild. My love and passion has only grown.

From the veterinary viewpoint I believe we have learned a lot of new things.

1.       Baby elephants seem to have a common problem while they are teething that stresses them and gives them diarrhoea and in captivity this is often fatal.

a.       Addition of pancreatic enzymes to predigest their milk works and has saved many babies since its diagnosis and introduction in April

b.      I suggested using anaesthetic  baby oral gel on gums during that time or even the administration of injectable pain Killers every few days

c.       I suggest a program to dart wild lactating elephants at different stages so we can analyse the composition of the milk and enzymes. I suspect that the mother secretes digestive enzymes and natural pain killers in the milk. It’s possible they may be eating a certain foodstuff that may promote this .

d.      The use of in house blood machines and digital x-rays  as donated to Sheldricks ,allows you to diagnose a problem before it becomes critical and it saves lives.

2.       In Kenya the poachers use a very powerful poison made from different plants. This is so toxic that one drop can kill 10 men.   Let’s find and antidote….

I also learned not to poke around in spear wounds with my fingers I will use a forceps from now on.

3.       We need to vaccinate and sterilize domestic dogs that are surrounding these game reserves. The dogs I saw were in very bad condition. We cannot have an outbreak of infectious diseases such as Distemper or Parvo virus that in my experience wiped out all the predators in Chobe one year. They still have not learned their lesson

4.       The men on the frontlines on the field need to utilize the new technologies available. We need to raise funds to buy them Portable handheld blood machines to diagnose the survivability of sick animals in the field. They need Pulse Oximiters that monitor the heart beat and respiration of sedated animals so that we can be aware of a problem while we are working on the treatment. Wild animals often succumb to anaesthetic  mishaps and need to be monitored just as in a hospital

5.       Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or Drones should be used to patrol vast areas for poachers. The infra-red capability can detect these insurgents at night and then an 24/7 heclicopterized antipoaching unit can respond as they can have night vision capabilities. This is when poachers are most active. IAPF has used this in Zimbabwe and we have suggested it for years now. “Blind Ears”.





Friday, December 21, 2012

Jack Hanna visits Sarasota one year after I guided him in Botswana December 2012

Jack and his wife Susan instantly recognized me after the show . We talked about the feature he made being one of the most popular and that he would support me in any conservation efforts.
I have posted the video link again below.

Jack Hanna's Into the Wild Chobe Adventure with Dr Clay Wilson

Friday, December 14, 2012


 They have STOPPED THE POACHING OF ELEPHANTS in Chobe temporarily, I paid a price but this was well worth it. I have gained much information this year and am aware of conditions in Botswana. The government has stepped up its anti poaching activities at least on the outside appearance. In 5 years there not one elephant poacher was ever apprehended and there was never any news about poaching despite my daily dealings with it as park veterinarian. Since my deportation Poaching is big news with almost daily encounters. The government stops hunting in September. I know its a guise to remove unwanted "eyes" in these remote areas where the hunters took over this function. The stage is set for a massive slaughter of elephants for profit.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Third elephant treated at the Mara

On the 6th day at the Mara we were once again called to an injured elephant. I can’t believe the constant pace the veterinary unit has to keep up 24/7. After a 2 ½ drive we arrived on scene. Once again the KWS wardens were already on site. I loved this efficiency. The poor Bull was part of a herd of bachelors of about 10 individuals which had stayed behind caring for their companion. On observing the elephant walk we saw a very swollen left hind foot and the angle at which he was dragging it behind him suggested a broken femur bone. Don’t ask me how an elephant breaks his leg in such a way. I imagine he may have stepped in a hole and thus injured it. We will never know.

The bull succumbed to the M99 within 7 minutes and once again he fell on the wrong side with the injured leg on the bottom. On cleaning and examining the wound it was evident that the skin of his foot pad had detached which is not a good sign. The pulse Oximiter beeped away as was intended. We decided that he may have a chance and administer antibiotics and pain medications. On a closer examination we decide to roll him over the get a better look at the injury. This was no easy task as the rope snapped on a few occasions. During this procedure I was holding his trunk extended as to make sure he could breathe properly. That is a very heavy trunk and I inadvertedly reinjured my ailing old man’s back which put me out of commission for one days rest.

The sight was not pleasant as the entire bottom of his foot had been eroded away from him dragging it behind him. The use of the portable x-ray machine back in Nairobi could have been useful in this instance. Poor fellow must have been in excruciating pain for over a week or so for this injury to have become so severe.

The other 10 bull waited patiently placing themselves in a protective stance around a tree only a few hundred meters away but not interfering with our grim duty.

Unfortunately there is no cure for this injury and the bull was efficiently euthanized while he was still sleeping. At least he was no longer suffering.

To my amazement Dr Dominic started to autopsy the leg to seek the source of the break. This as you may imagine is not an easy job. We uncovered the break at lower femur confirming out diagnosis and correctness of our procedures.

The group of his companions silently moved away as If they knew what had transpired.

A sad day for us all but Africa can be unforgiving.


Second elphant treated at the Mara

On the 4th day at Mara we were called out to attend an elephant suffering from a spear wound. These are the biggest elephants I have ever seen in the wild and one was radio collared to follow its movements. There were three old bulls hanging out with each other. After a 2 hour bone jarring drive we arrived on scene. Once again KWS wardens were already on scene. I am so impressed with their commitment. On darting the elephant whom succumbed to the M99 within 6 minutes as luck would have it he fell on the wrong side. Once again we had to rapidly turn him over with the help of ropes and vehicles. There was an obvious stab wound that was exuding blood and pus. We immediately began to clean and disinfect wound. The portable pulse Oximiter attached to its ear was emitting a powerful heartbeat and was music to our ears. There was a large lump raised above the entry wound which I cut in with my pocket knife. On exploring the wound with my finger I immediately encountered an object which scratched into my finger. In Kenya spear wounds are very common as probably this is the only defence farmers and citizens have to defend against elephant intrusions. Unfortunately in the case of poachers they use an extremely powerful poison to put on the spear tip. This poison is made from a concoction of local plants and roots and it is so toxic that one drop can kill ten men. I continued to work on the wound in the back of my mind fearing that it would be poisoned and it would be my last day on earth as of yet there has been no antidote made for this poison. Fortunately I felt on ill effects and we managed to finish cleaning out the wounds and administer antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. The elephant immediately woke up and headed to re-join his two companions.