Africa Conservation Weekend Wildlife Zimbabwe

‘Martha’, a Mother Elephant saved in Zimbabwe

A team of conservationists have saved a mother elephant in Zimbabwe after it was spotted limping in pain as it traversed the plains with its calf.

Named Martha, the elephant, was seen with the looped piece of wire tightly cutting into her leg.

‘There was a wire snare digging deep into her left front leg, crippling her and causing severe pain,’ said Catherine Norton, 58, a conservationist.

‘We had to clean the wound as it was infected, give her antibiotics and remove the snare with wire cutters.

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‘It only took her a few minutes to come around but the outcome could have been so much worse.’ Norton said Martha’s calf was still completely dependent on her, meaning if her mother had died she would likely die too.

Wire snares like the one found around Martha’s leg are usually set to catch smaller animals around the neck, however large animals like elephants and rhinos can sometimes step into them.

Such snares are often set up along game trails and watering holes, according to the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust in Malawi, and are designed to catch specific animals.

Usually, they are suspended from small trees to trap an animal by the neck as it passes. The creature will then panic, pulling the wire tighter around its throat as it struggles to break free until it is asphyxiated and dies.

While bigger animals like elephants are strong enough to detach the snare from the tree or branch it is anchored to, this process often results in the wire being pulled more tightly around their leg.

The animal then is subject to constant painful constriction that causes swelling and infection. Animals in this state often die from infection or stop eating and starve.

Original article on Taarifa Rwanda

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