The Euphrates Expedition


Karunya Prasad, International Intern

Date Published

Last week, during one of our LTM drives with Shifra and Jerenimo, we noticed that the matriarch of the sporadic Rivers family- Euphrates- was bleeding, from what looked like bullet wounds on her left foreleg and right hind leg. She was limping and unlike the rest of her family, wasn’t grazing. We immediately called the vet and hung around with Euphrates for a couple of hours, while waiting to get a response from the vet. Unfortunately, he was busy on another operation and so we had to return to camp and arrange for an examination the following day.

The next day, we left camp around 6:30am and headed off in three separate vehicles to track down Euphrates. After a few hours of driving around, we found her with her calf and another juvenile lagging way behind the rest of the members of the Rivers family. She was obviously in a lot of pain and finding it difficult to keep up with her group. We kept an eye on her while awaiting the vet’s arrival.

The vet arrived in the afternoon and the amazing, jaw-dropping immobilisation procedure began. As seen in the photo below, a massive injection gun was used to dart Euphrates in the back-side, to paralyse her. Unfortunately, she fell on the wrong side and the vet couldn’t access her wound, so one end of a long, heavy-duty rope was tied to her legs and the other end, to the jeep. The jeep was used to pull the weight of Euphrates and make her flip onto her other side. The loud *thud* sound produced when she dropped made me jump! Water was continuously poured on her body to keep her cool and a stick was propped near the tip of her trunk to make sure her air passage remained open.

The vet examined the wounds and found that the wound in the foreleg was an old bullet wound. Euphrates was in pain because she had a swollen, dislocated elbow joint. However, this was not treatable and the vet said she would heal naturally and would be able to live with the dislocation. Some antibiotics were given to help her recover. Surprisingly, nothing was found in the hind leg. The antidote was injected and we watched her get up and walk off calmly, albeit a little confused!

The next day, we spotted her alone and still very sore. It was sad to see that she hadn’t been able to reunite with her family.

However, two days later, she was seen again with her calf and the rest of the Rivers group, yay!! A happy ending after all.