Wildlife Heroes: Rescuing a Bull, Elephant and Zebra in a Marathon of Compassion

In a heartwarming display of dedication and compassion, the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (SWT) recently undertook a veterinary marathon to provide essential care to a bull elephant and a zebra stallion.

The remarkable journey began with an aerial patrol over Tsavo East National Park on March 4, 2021, where the team made a chance sighting.

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During the patrol, a group of six bull elephants was observed. One displayed a tiny but significant speck on its side—a telltale sign of an arrow wound.


The SWT swiftly mobilized for a veterinary operation the following day, recognizing the situation’s urgency.

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Despite challenges and a temporary setback due to the elusive nature of the wounded bull, the team persevered.

Two days later, the team successfully located the bull again with the helicopter back in action. A coordinated effort involving aerial and ground crews, led by Dr. Poghon from the SWT/KWS Tsavo Mobile Vet Unit, ensued.


The bull was successfully darted, and the poisoned arrow wound, fortunately not reaching vital organs, was treated.

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This multi-day effort showcased the team’s resilience and unwavering commitment to saving the bull.

The estimated 35-year-old bull, now free from the threat of the poisoned arrow, conveyed a sense of understanding and gratitude before rejoining his herd in the vast wilderness of Tsavo.


However, the veterinary marathon didn’t conclude with the bull’s treatment. Upon returning to the Kaluku Field Headquarters, the team discovered an injured zebra stallion that had recently faced off with a lion.

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While the zebra’s injuries were not life-threatening, the SWT Tsavo Vet Unit intervened to provide essential care.

Interestingly, the Trust’s orphaned animals, including Scooter, the warthog; Susu, the eland; and Mkubwa, the buffalo, observed the proceedings curiously and offered their silent support.


The successful treatment of the bull elephant and the zebra exemplifies the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s unwavering commitment to wildlife conservation.

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Whether a massive bull or an affable zebra, each individual is recognized as part of a broader ecosystem deserving care, compassion, and the right to a future.

The veterinary marathon reflects the Trust’s privilege and responsibility to ensure the well-being and preservation of Kenya’s remarkable wildlife heritage.

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