Cape Town - Wildlife
vets in Zimbabwe have removed stinking fragments of shattered bone from the
head of another elephant who has miraculously survived being shot.
Safari guides and conservationists in northern Zimbabwe's pristine wilderness
area of Mana Pools suspect that "Pretty Boy" came looking for help
after dodging death possibly as long as six weeks ago.
bull, believed to be around 25 years old, hung around a camp in Mana Pools for
two hours at the weekend, showing absolutely no signs of aggression while
giving staff a chance to see a nasty wound at the top of his head.
Had he been shot across the border in Zambia, possibly by a poacher or a hunter
and come to Mana Pools for refuge and help?
what those who've had a chance to treat and observe the bull in the last few days
think, though of course no-one can be sure.
Keith Dutlow and Lisa Marabini from Aware Trust told News24 that it was
"amazing" that Pretty Boy actually survived the shooting in a corner
of the southern African region that's notorious for poachers but is also a
prime game hunting area.
"Five centimetres lower and he would have been dead," Dutlow said in
rangers from Zimbabwe's state national parks authority? and conservationists
standing by, the vets on Monday darted Pretty Boy, who was so co-operative that
he came right up to their car when they arrived in Mana Pools, which is more
340 kilometres from the capital Harare.
used a battery-operated X-ray machine to get a better view of the bullet, which
is stuck about five centimetres away from Pretty Boy's wound.
The wound itself was a mess. As the vets began work on it, what looked like
grey pus came oozing out. In fact it was "white pus flecked with bits of
black dead bone," Dutlow explained.
of the fragments of bone that had to be dug out were pretty large - as long as
8 cm across and 3 cm wide.
shot Pretty Boy "must have been aiming straight for his head,"
Marabini added. The wound was flushed out and the elephant has been given
long-lasting antibiotics. "I don't think the bullet (which is still lodged
inside) will cause any more problems," Marabini added.
in the case of Ben the bull elephant, who came to a lodge on Lake Kariba
looking for help with his wound at the end of last month, Pretty Boy seems to
have understood that some humans might want to help him.
and anyone who's helped dart big animals know they have to be particularly wary
of them the day after they've been darted in case they decide to attack.
in Pretty Boy's case on Tuesday, he showed "no signs of aggression
whatsoever," Marabini said. The elephant placidly allowed them and a local
guide to walk right up to him.
was amazing," the vet said.
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