Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sable antilope kills porcupine

This sable antilope was found in the morning walking lame with a porcupine needle in her leg. She clearly won the fight: a porcupine was found dead close the her in the same morning. The female sable antilope was immobilized and the needle was removed. The wound was washed and antibiotics and a painkiller were given. Soon after treatment she was walking well again.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Giraffe translocation

A giraffe capture is one of the most impressive things I have seen in my life. The skills and courage of the guys pulling the ropes is amazing! A giraffe can easily kill a human with its legs, so it's important to stay away from them... In South Africa specialised 'giraffe capture teams' travel around the country to capture giraffes for all sorts of reasons. This young male giraffe was going to move to another reserve for breeding purposes. First the giraffe was immobilisated by dartgun. When he was 'down', immediately a 'hat' was put over the head and ropes were attached to the body. Because giraffes are complicated animals to have under anaesthetics, the full antagonist was given into the vene, straight after this, to wake the animal up as soon as possible. The wild and fully awake (!) giraffe got up within a minute after the injection and then the skills of the ground team is extremely important: by pulling slowly on each rope (left, right, forwards, backwards) at the right time, the 'blind' giraffe will slowly walk into the truck...if everything goes well....
Incredible how relaxed giraffes are in the truck. This one just fell asleep!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

African buffalo with a "Wooden tongue"

African buffel with a 'wooden tongue', a bacterial infection of the tongue what makes is hard, painful and swollen. This disease regularly seen in domestic cattle and is caused by the bacteria Actinobacillus lignieresii, which live naturally in the mouth. These 'natural' bacteria invade the tissue after a small wound in the tongue allow them to enter. The disease starts suddenly and affected animals are not able to eat or drink and rapidly lose condition. This buffalo was fine the evening before and was found in the morning with a hugely swolen, very hard tongue and she was not able to eat or drink anything. Without treatment this animal would get dehydrated and die quickly. Therefore the buffalo was immobilized and then treated with antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, vitamines and 36 litres of IV fluids. It took approximately 1 hour to administer the fluids and during the treatment the size of tongue clearly reduced already (see photos). The next day the buffalo was completely fine again and eating well. Before and after treatment (notice the wound on the tongue)

Monday, December 15, 2008

White lions with dermatitis

Two white lions were scratching their face since 2 days, possibly caused by fleas, mites or sun burning. Extensive scratching often causes a huge secundary dermatitis. We see this very often in companion animals, especially labradors, but we never saw it in lions before. The white coat of these lions may have an influence in the cause, as the 3 other lions of the pride, all with a normal tawny colour, did not show any signs. Maybe the fleas prefered a white coat or the skin was more sensitive for sunlight? Sun burn with secundary dermatitis is often seen in house cats with a white coat.
We have immobilizated these two lions to clean up and disinfect the wounds, and to inject the lions with anti-parasite treatment, antibiotics, anti-inflammation and multi-vitamins. A few days later an improvement was already seen. In veterinary practice, especially when dealing with wild animals in a field situation, the focus is that the animals get better, with not always knowing the exact cause.
White lions are not albinos. Their white colouration is similar to blue eyes in humans, which is similarly due to a recessive gene. The Greater Timbevati and Southern Kruger National Park region is the only place in the world where these special lions are found in the wild. Since the 70's white lions are artificially taken from the wild for captive breeding projects because they were expected not to survive in the wild. The Global White Lion Protection Trust has recently released white lions back into the wild as part of the conservation efforts to protect these mysterious animals. White Lions also have a strong cultural and spiritual value for the indigenous Shangaan people in the region. See for more information:
The release back into the wild...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What a difference!

The view from my house in October...
The same view in November after some rain! The hot, humid summer has started...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cheeta with a broken leg

Deze jonge cheeta werd gevonden in een natuur reservaat met een gebroken poot. Omdat de overlevingskansen van deze cub in wild nihiel zijn werd besloten het dier te behandelen. Rontgenfoto's zijn gemaakt en een spalk aangebracht. De spalk moet 6 weken om blijven en wordt verbazingswekkend goed geaccepteerd. Deze rontgenfoto's zijn een controle om te zien of de fractuur goed aan het genezen is.