STS vets in Mozambique were alerted by the Niassa carnivore project ( Niassa Lion Project ) to reports of a Wild Dog in the Niassa Special Reserve with a nasty snare wound.
Dr. Hugo was best placed to tackle this emergency. He quickly packed up the equipment needed for this mission and headed to the airport.
While Dr. Hugo was on his way, the NCP staff and rangers started the search for the pack of Wild Dogs of which the injured patient was a member. Tracking a small pack of 20-30 Wild Dogs is far from easy in the vast landscape that is the Niassa Special reserve!
Niassa is so big, you could fit all the National Parks in South Africa into it and still have spare room! But Wild Dogs are one of Africa’s most endangered species, with only 4-5,000 left in existence. Therefore, it was vitally important that we do all we can to find and save this individual.
The search for the wild dogs…
When he arrived, Dr. Hugo joined the rangers on the search, they scoured the bush for 3 days, and finally found fresh tracks of a pack that could be the Dogs they were looking for. Following the tracks they came across a pack of 24 Dogs feeding on a waterbuck they had recently killed.
There he was! Our patient, right in the middle of the pack, feeding on the Waterbuck. Dr. Hugo was able to dart the injured Wild Dog and asses his wounds.
How did Dr Hugo save the wild dog?
The cut to the animal’s neck was deep but luckily the snare was no longer there. Dr. Hugo washed and disinfected the wound, applying honey to aid the healing process and act as a fly repellent. This helps to prevent flies depositing larvae in the wound and infecting it. In addition, a systemic antibiotic was administered. This is to assist the animal’s immune system in fighting opportunistic infections. Skin and blood biopsy samples were collected, for storage in the database of the Mozambique wildlife biobank.
The anaesthetic reversal was successful and the big healthy male joined the rest of his pack to hunt another day!
Thanks to Niassa Lion Project for the hard work and financial contribution to get Dr Hugo to Niassa in record time and to Administração Nacional das Áreas de Conservação for their ongoing support to STS operations in Mozambique.
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