Terrified and trapped in the mud, this wounded female elephant got lucky when Ol Pejeta teamed up with the Kenya Wildlife Service to rescue her.
The call came in at 11am. Dr Stephen Ngulu, Ol Pejeta’s resident vet, got his equipment together as he dialed several other numbers; holding the phone to his ear with his shoulder as he packed up the Land Cruiser. This was no ordinary wildlife call out – he was going to need reinforcements.
The village was not one of Ol Pejeta’s neighbours, but Dr. Ngulu doesn’t let boundaries stop him from helping an animal in need. On the way, he joined a convoy of Kenya Wildlife Service officers, who work closely with the Ol Pejeta wildlife department. When they arrived at the scene, a large crowd was gathered round a muddy dam. Dr. Ngulu pushed his way through - what he saw was heartbreaking.
The Ol Pejeta veterinary team attends to the elephant.
A female elephant, desperate for water in the bite of drought, had ventured in to the village dam and got stuck in the thick clay-like mud. Recently, Laikipia has seen increased incidents of human wildlife conflict - driven by competition for natural resources, and the devastating effect of crop destruction (particularly by elephants). While some people from the village had simply intended to scare the elephant away, others had let their frustrations boil over. She had seven deep wounds on her head, and several others on her trunk.
Using a dart gun, Dr. Ngulu and his team subdued the terrified elephant, and managed to treat her wounds with antibiotics and painkillers. When they were satisfied they had done all they could, they brought her round. Villagers rallied around to help, and with ropes and well-coordinated manpower, they helped her out of the mud. She was coaxed out of the community area, and back to the trail of her herd. The Kenya Wildlife Service will now keep a close eye on her, watching for any signs of infection and trying to keep her out of trouble.
The elephant back in the wild after treatment.