In a heart-wrenching discovery on February 10, a one-year-old female elephant, later named Enkesha, was found in the Mara Triangle with a wire snare tightly wrapped around her trunk.
The delicate calf, surrounded by a concerned herd of wild elephants, faced a challenging journey to recovery.
Due to the late hour, immediate intervention was impossible. The Mara Conservancy organized an overnight watch, planning to locate the injured calf the following day with assistance from the DSWT-funded Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit and KWS Veterinary Officer Dr. Campaign Limo.
The herd moved to a forested area during the night, complicating the rescue operation. The Mara Elephant Project’s helicopter, led by Pilot Mark Goss, gently guided the herd to more open terrain, highlighting the urgent need to alleviate the calf’s suffering.
Administering Etorphine hydrochloride, the team immobilized the calf and examined the severe snare-induced wound.
With three options – amputation, reconstruction, or leaving it as is – the decision was made to transfer Enkesha to the DSWT Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi for potential surgical intervention.
After a thorough cleaning and temporary reconstruction, Enkesha received anti-inflammatory medication.
The decision to separate her from her mother was tough but necessary for her survival and trunk preservation.
A three-hour procedure in Nairobi successfully stitched up Enkesha’s trunk. However, her attempt to undo the stitches posed challenges due to the intricate nature of an elephant’s trunk.
Two days post-surgery, Enkesha undid all stitches, presenting a dilemma. Despite dismissing amputation and additional surgeries, her wound has shown progress, with part of it closing.
Ensuring her well-being and preventing infections, the team focuses on Enkesha’s natural healing process, marveling at her resilience and progress.
The Mara Conservancy continues its anti-poaching efforts, as Enkesha’s ordeal resulted from snares set for herbivores. Despite the tragedy, there is hope that Enkesha will heal sufficiently to rejoin the wild.
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