On October 14, Mara Elephant Project received a call from the Olarro Conservancy Warden that a female elephant with two calves had been injured on her side with either a spear or arrow. Olarro has been seeing a high level of human-elephant conflict along its border, which is why MEP stationed a ranger unit there permanently to help mitigate human-elephant conflict in partnership with the Olarro rangers.
The MEP Olarro patrol unit.
MEP deployed the Karen Blixen Camp Ree Park Safari R44 helicopter piloted by C.E.O. Marc Goss to help identify the injured elephant from the air. There were several small herds of elephants in the area where the wounded elephant was last spotted but once she was spotted there was no mistaken the large abscess that had developed on her side.
MEP C.E.O. Marc Goss spotting the wounded female from the air. You can see that her left side on her stomach there is a large abscess.
Marc picked up the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) vet Dr. Limo with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) Mara Mobile so he could dart the injured elephant from the air.
Dr. Limo loading his dart gun to get ready to go up in the helicopter with Marc.
What made this mission complicated is that this female had two babies with her, one was an adolescent and the other under a year old. Since these two babies were depending on their mother for survival, MEP knew they needed to act fast. MEP rangers were charged with keeping the two babies away from the treatment scene to protect not only them, but also the people working on their mother.
Felix from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Mara Mobile Vet Unit acted fast to ensure the tiny baby was out of the way as the mother fell asleep for treatment. Soon after MEP rangers escorted the baby away and to safety while the Mom received treatment.
MEP ranger John LeShawn assisting Dr. Limo and his assistant during the treatment.
As soon as the female went to sleep from the dart, Dr. Limo jumped right in along with his staff to begin treating the wound. Luckily, Limo says this female will make a full recovery and as soon as she awoke she was reunited with her two calves.
Dr. Limo and his team putting the final antiseptic on the wound.
Protecting elephants is a team effort and successful operations like this between MEP, Olarro Conservancy, KWS and DSWT are essential to ensuring the longevity of the Mara ecosystem.