Saving an Injured Elephant

Our Ol Kinyei Conservancy ranger patrol team, the Kenya Wildlife Service and Mara Elephant Project recently joined forces to save an injured bull elephant that sought shelter in one of our conservancies.

Our conservancy rangers carry out daily patrols within our conservancies to monitor wildlife health, population movements and distribution within the area, and also ensure that animals are safe – especially the key species such as lions, elephants, leopards, cheetahs and hyenas.
Unfortunately, animals moving outside of our conservancies are prone to retaliation when they stray into community areas threatening human life, damaging property and killing livestock. They risk getting wounded or killed by poisoning or with arrows and spears in efforts to chase them away from human settled areas or farms.
If they are lucky enough to survive, then some of these animals injured in the outlying community areas find their way into the conservancies where they are secure.
Recently, our patrol team sighted two elephant bulls  within the Ol Kinyei Conservancy, and they realised one elephant was limping. On closer examination they observed an injury on its back and a piece of an arrow sticking from its right foreleg.  This was reported immediately to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and Mara Elephant Project who responded promptly.

The KWS and Mara Elephant Project joined the Ol Kinyei rangers to locate the bull which had moved to Olmantirirong area inside the conservancy. As the injured bull was darted with a sedative and treated, there was another bull calmly watching from the bush less than 100 meters away. This is rare and in normal circumstance the bull would have been aggressive or charged towards the team if it sensed danger.  Instead, the bull seemed to understand what was happening and that his friend or family member was safe.

The bull remained as calm as could be while the vet removed the arrow, cleaned and treated the wounds and waited for the patient to come round from the sedative.

A few minutes later, the bull woke up, turned around and faced the car as if thanking the team. Then it turned to walk away slowly and trying to put as little of its weight as possible on its injured foot. Our rangers will be watching out in the days ahead to see the bull’s progress as it recovers.

From past experience, wildlife have learnt and recognised safe areas where they feel protected and can get help and heal when they are sick or injured. This is clear demonstration of how important the conservancies are in securing critical habitats and protecting biodiversity and Ol Kinyei and Selenkay Conservancy are no exception. The two conservancies Selenkay and Ol Kinyei are of a kind, managed and operated by  Gamewatchers Safaris and the Porini Camps, protecting habitats from subdivision and different land use while conserving biodiversity through sustainable tourism and benefiting community members around the conservancies. The Ol Kinyei Conservancy connects habitats and offer dispersal areas to wildlife reducing pressure at the Maasai Mara National Reserve.
Without the surveillance by the conservancy rangers through patrols and informing the management, the elephant would have been killed or would have died from further wound infection. This shows the significance of conservancies and rangers in wildlife monitoring and their importance to wildlife conservation.
Well done to all who helped!

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