Milk Substitute against Poaching
Poaching in Africa is still massively profitable – with fatal consequences for the animal world. Rhinoceroses are on the edge of extinction; elephant babies lose their mothers and often agonizingly die of hunger, as do many other wild animals who become trapped in wire snares.
Wild animal rescue stations like our partner organization, Kilimanjaro Animal C.R.E.W. in Tanzania, provide a valuable service in combating this atrocious development. The NGO was founded by the veterinarians Elisabeth Stegmaier and Dr. Dr. Laszlo Paizs on the Makoa Farm near Arusha in Tanzania. The Academy is available to the veterinarians nearly around the clock with advice or action. Moreover, since 2015 it has donated hundredweights of milk substitute which it specially created to meet the needs of orphaned young animals.
Kilimanjaro Animal C.R.E.W. reports about the past year:
“We have an eventful year behind us with more and, in some cases, more dramatic rescues than in past years and more intensive cooperation with the wildlife authorities. We received a message already on January 4 from West Kilimanjaro: A two-week-old zebra foal had strayed into a Massai Boma and its herd was nowhere to be seen. The foal also had an umbilical hernia and would have died without an operation.
After two hours of searching in vain for the herd, we brought the foal to our clinic and started to bottle-feed it. A week later, as soon as the foal was stable, we operated on the umbilical hernia. In a couple of days, a newborn grey duiker was also brought to us for hand rearing. In the meantime, ‘Bambi’ feels right at home in our releasing enclosure.
Shortly afterwards, our first elephant calf from Lake Tanganyika was rescued by rangers and farmers out of a deep pit which had been built by poachers. The search for the mother cow and herd had been unsuccessful, so we flew in a small plane the next day about 1,000 kilometers to Lake Tanganyika in order to pick up the calf, which had severe injuries on its trunk and mouth. A great deal of intensive work was needed to get it through the first month. In the following months as well, Savanna remained a problem child – her memory of the pain in her mouth was vivid. In the meantime, however, Savanna has become a fun-loving little elephant who quickly gulps down the milk substitute sponsored by the Academy.
In February, we were contacted by the Enduimet Wildlife Management Area to come and fetch Lerangwa, a zebra foal which had been captured and injured by Massai dogs, for medical treatment and hand rearing. Lerangwa was only a few days old but very large and gawky and simply not fast enough on scree to escape the attacking Massai dog pack. The shepherds had luckily observed the incident and had quickly run to help out, so that the little colt was not seriously injured, but in such a state of shock that it needed hours of treatment before it could stand on its own again. Sadly, at this point, it was impossible to follow the herd over the rocky terrain by car. The zebra herd had gone quite a distance and could not be found on foot. So Lerangwa joined our baby herd and became the best friend of the elephant girl Savanna.
More orphans arrived, like a baby Grant’s gazelle and another approximately three-week-old zebra foal which was found by a ranger trying to nurse from its dead mother in the middle of a village. At the end of July, a week-old male elephant calf was found in a corn field without its mother and the herd on the edge of the Burigi Chato National Park. We brought the rescued animal in a plane from the National Park administration to the Makoa Vet Clinic. The calf was not only small, pink-colored and abandoned, but it also had an umbilicus infection and numerous abscesses in the mouth cavity. Our need for the special milk substitute increased rapidly. Thanks to the ongoing support from the Academy, we were able to continuously provide our wards with the optimal milk substitute.
We were able to rescue still more animals with the help of the Academy and its milk substitute: In mid-November, we were called to the Grumeti Game Reserve in the western Serengeti ecosystem in order to provide first aid to a rescued rhinoceros calf. The milk substitute also proved its worth in this case. Our involvement with the rhinoceros calf lasted two weeks and was often vital in the first critical days of a day and night operation. After it was clear that the ranger had absolutely no experience with such a young animal and hand rearing, our head animal keeper joined us in order to continue hands-on training of the ranger and future keepers of the little rhino for a further six weeks. We received further deliveries of the milk substitute, thus guaranteeing the optimal development of the rhinoceros calf.
At the beginning of December, the first elephant calf in the Serengeti could be rescued and was also given the special milk substitute sponsored by the Academy. Once the ranger had localized the herd, the calf could be released.
We received altogether three tons of milk substitute from the Academy so that all our orphans were able to survive and develop splendidly.
Throughout 2019 we took on several antelopes, impalas (which in the meantime have offspring of their own), bushbucks and Thomson’s gazelles from a zoo which had to shut down. These animals
all live now in our four-hectare future release enclosure built specifically for this purpose. A variety of birds – to be exact, numerous owls and storks – have also found a new home with us.
We constructed a night shelter for our elephant and zebra orphans. Our successful missions in treating injured elephants for bullet and spear wounds, were possible thanks to the equipment (blowpipe set, darts, etc.), training and, not least, medicine for gentle immobilization provided by the Academy.
The positive cooperation between the Academy and the Kilimanjaro Animal C.R.E.W. permitted a growing number of rescue missions, successful follow-up treatments and the rearing of orphaned and injured young animals. Even the authorities were grateful and turn to us more frequently for help now that we have built up the best equipped wildlife rescue station nationwide with the Academy’s unreserved support and advice.”