"I never usually feel totally comfortable getting very close to a wild elephant. But he literally emanated serenity. There were no aggressive vibes coming from him whatsoever," said the doctor who operated on the elephant.
Elephants are truly fascinating and majestic creatures. These massive mammals are considered to be the largest animal in the wild and they are also very intelligent. Sadly, human greed and cruelty know no bounds and for a long time now, people are illegally poaching elephants for their ivory tusks. Recently, we came across a piece of news that only goes on to show how pure and gentle elephants really are.
An elephant, named Pretty Boy, in Zimbabwe was walking around for a few weeks with a gunshot wound on his forehead, reported The Dodo. The gunshot wound was caused due to poachers and it is believed that he was walking around with the wound for weeks. Lucky for Pretty Boy, he was discovered by veterinarians from Aware Trust Zimbabwe in Mana Pools National Park and they quickly responded.
Upon their arrival at the park, the vets knew that elephants can usually keep to themselves when they are injured but they were taken aback once Pretty Boy approached them himself. Dr. Lisa Marabini said, "It's like he knew we were there with the intention of helping him." After sedating Pretty Boy, the team took him for an x-ray, took out the bullet, and cleaned the wound.
AWARE posted on Facebook, saying, "Hurry up and wait" is a common saying in wildlife circles as it usually takes more time to find the animal than it does to treat it. Not so on 13 June - when "Pretty Boy" heard they'd arrived in Mana Pools he made himself available for examination within half an hour, coming right up to their car. An extremely gentle and relaxed bull, the vets managed to get a good look at what immediately became apparent was a hole going into his forehead."
They continued, "He was likely shot at several centimeters too high for a "kill shot", and the bullet glanced off his skull causing a depression fracture of the bones in his sinuses. The bullet is lodged under his skin some 5cm away from the wound, but because of the difficulty of taking several Xray angles on a skull that big, it could not be sufficiently triangulated to definitively locate it."
Dr. Marabini said that bullets are generally sterile when they penetrate the tissue and if they don't hit any vital structure, it can be left inside the body. This is exactly what happened to Pretty Boy, but his wound was infected. Marabini said, "It was essential to remove the dead pieces of the bone so that the body could continue to heal the infection. We think he was shot outside the park and came into the park for refuge. Whether it was a poacher or a hunt went wrong, we can only speculate."
The doctors also spotted a scar just behind Pretty Boy's spine which indicates that he had been shot previously. Marabini, regarding her experience, said, "I never usually feel totally comfortable getting very close to a wild elephant. But he literally emanated serenity. There were no aggressive vibes coming from him whatsoever."
While tending to Pretty Boy, the vets saw some grey pus starting to ooze out of the wound, something they'd never seen before. AWARE added, "Keith removed several black foul-smelling necrotic fragments of bone before thoroughly cleaning and flushing the wound. Pretty Boy was given ultra-long acting anti-biotics and parasiticides. The vets were worried his weak back might interfere with him getting to his feet after reversal, but he recovered uneventfully and then lay his head against a tree and dozed for half an hour."
They continued, "The following day he was feeling much happier and very relaxed and allowed Stretch, Keith, and Lisa to get very close to him for a final assessment. His progress will be monitored by the tour operators in the area and if necessary a follow-up treatment will be done." Dr. Marabini added that it will take Pretty Boy a while to heal, but as of now he is healthy.