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Video Moment, A Look Back: Saving Snared Bull Elephant, in Vicinity of DSWT’s Elephant Named Wiva, Sparks Concern Amongst Those on Medical Rescue Team

A bull elephant that may have been part of an elephant family of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT), which rehabilitates orphaned baby elephants, was discovered suffering from a wound caused by a deeply embedded wire snare trap.

It was mentioned that the male elephant was found in an area commonly inhabited by former DSWT orphans who had been released back into the wild. 

Wendi was just such an elephant, as she became orphaned and was cared for until she had grown and was ready to face the challenges of reintegration into the life for which she was born. She became the mother of Wiva, her first wild born elephant child…


Narrator:He needs to sedate the elephant so that the snare can be safely removed. 

DSWT Medical/Rescue Team Member:Guys, we are ready. We go help the elephant.

Gordon Buchanan: (entering Land Rover vehicle) “This is good. I am happy to know the vet is here.”

Narrator: “Fred works alongside a spotter plane to locate the injured bull. He wants to dart it quickly to stop it from suffering.” (DSWT Medical/Rescue Team Member in position to dart the hurt elephant & the deed is done.)

DSWT: “Okay (unintelligible) that is good.”

Gordon: “So Fred has managed to fire the dart and the elephant has taken off through the trees so we are just going to try and locate it. (after landing) “Chopper is on the ground.”

(Gordon approaches the men already assisting the bull elephant) “Oh, my goodness. Geez. That is really shocking.

( DSWT Medical/Rescue Team Members and other men talking among themselves in their native language as they help the injured elephant.)




Narrator: “On his side the bull’s breathing is labored. We have to move fast to remove the snare. 

Gordon: (observing this) “Oh they have got it.”

Narrator:The poachers have simply used winch cable from a truck. A snare like this is cheap to make. It could have caught any of Wiva’s family.  

(DSWT Medical/Rescue Team Members and other men still talking amongst themselves as they remove the embedded snare from the leg of injured elephant.)




Gordon: The reason that this animal has endured this unimaginable pain is for this… (he says, patting the short tusk of the sedated elephant) His tusks. It just… it defies belief how cruel people can be to to animals and how senseless this whole thing is, that you can cause so much suffering, so much pain, for an ornament. Simply for an ornament. This poor animal. (Elephant rumbles while sedated & lying on the ground.) 



Narrator: He is treated with a special clay that will help heal the wound.”(DSWT Medical/Rescue Team Member is slathering the green clay into the deep wound which extends around the elephant’s ankle)



 Source (1)


Gordon: “What do you think, Fred? Do you think it will survive?

DSWT Fred: “Ah, because the guy’s body condition is good… he was walking and also getting to another bad level. But he is still okay to survive. You see, the bone is not involved.”

Gordon: “Okay”

DSWT Fred:The bone is intact.

Gordon: “Okay”

DSWT Fred: (speaking as he prepares the syringe to reverse the sedative from the dart.) “So when the bone is intact, the soft tissue can easily…”

Gordon: “Really repair.”

DSWT Fred: “Recover, yeah.”



Narrator:Finally, the wound is treated with an antibiotic spray. All that remains is to wake him up.” (The DSWT Medical/Rescue Team Member injects the needle into the elephant as the chopper is started up and ready for take off.) 

Gordon: (watching, just a short distance away, as the majestic bull elephant rises out of his stupor from the ground) “Wow. Oh, my word. Hey, fella.” (Towards the camera) “Okay, move back.” (Gordon then takes off running, with several other men in front of him, toward the chopper that is waiting for them to take off) “Not taking any chances…”  Source (1)



Images & Transcribed from: cc video by BBC “Saving an Elephant from a Deadly Snare | BBC Earth (1)


Note: The medical/rescue team was lead by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) now called the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. There was concern about wild born baby elephant Wiva (daughter of Wendi) as the snare traps were set in the area her elephant family are often spotted.


See also: Video Moment : “Baby Elephant Takes Her First Bath” by BBC Earth : Starring Gawa, With a Triumphant Appearance by Wiva, & All Their “Elephant Nannies”             

See also: What a Wonderful Story : Wendi the Elephant Inspires “Christmas Fostering” at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust With Endearing “Adopt Me” Video



(1) Creative commons video by BBC, “Saving an Elephant from a Deadly Snare | BBC Earth”  watch?v=0fWtpVDSh9w


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