Zim vets treat 'rescued' elephant calf for leg fracture

2015-08-12 18:59

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Harare - Vets in Zimbabwe are treating a leg fracture on a young elephant, who narrowly escaped being sent to China last month, it has emerged.

Calf Kukurakura "has an old fracture on his left hind leg which had been playing up and causing him to feel a little grumpy", the AWARE Trust, which is run by vets in Zimbabwe, said on its Facebook page.

The vets have prescribed anti-inflammatories, but have decided for now not to surgically break the leg to reset it. A second opinion will be sought.

"Fractures in elephants are not necessarily fatal, and adult elephants have been seen to manage with the resultant deformity in a limb," AWARE said, adding Kukurakura will need supplementary feeding.

The calf has been previously identified as one of three young elephants who were not shipped to China last month because of injuries sustained before they were captured. Twenty-four elephant calves, all originally from the Hwange National Park (where Cecil the lion lived), were exported.

The move provoked an outcry from animal rights activists who said it was cruel to separate the calves from the rest of the herd.

But President Robert Mugabe's government said exporting the elephants is kinder than culling them. It argued that Zimbabwe has too many elephants and that the money raised from their sale – which can be as much as $60 000 per elephant (about R766 830) – will help pay rangers.

The three elephants left behind are being cared for in an elephant orphanage in Harare. The other two have been named Annabelle and Matabele. 
Annabelle is understood to have no tail and part of her trunk is missing, possibly from a lion or hyena attack.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  conservation  |  animals

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