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News - December 2010

The run up to Christmas has been punctuated by a number of rehabilitation cases that AWARE vets have helped. 

Mana lioness with facial swellingThere was the Mana lioness who had a massive haematoma on her face lanced and drained. She probably got this haematoma from a kick from another animal. She was treated with a two-week long antibiotic injecton, anti- inflammatories and vitamins. She also had a defunct radio-collar left by a previous researcher removed.

Her immobilisation was a particularly nerve-wracking experience, even though we were accompanied by pro-guide Stretch Ferreira, as her adult daughter and 3 cubs refused to leave her and continuously growled at us from a bush no more than 6 meters away. In the photos Stretch is pleading calm from the daughter as we we steel our nerves to work on the mother. Thanks to David Fettes for the great pictures.

 Moment of dart impactDaughter and cubs frustratingly making their way to immobilised lioness

Calming daughterWorking on the lionessLioness coming round from anaesthetic

Removing snare from Bigboy the elephantThen there was Bigboy – the elephant at Wild Heritage Lodges in Kariba, who – after giving us a real run around because the first dart failed to go off – was successfully immobilised to remove a snare that was just starting to cut into his flesh. Removal of buffalo snareOn the same trip a female buffalo was immobilised close to Kariba town and a cable snare that had caused significant damage to her hoof was removed. We think the animal should make a full recovery. With our new Xray machine we also immobilised ‘Sorefoot’ (the elephant treated in July this year, whose leg was still swollen) to see if we could detect a fracture, but unfortunately the generator we were using did not have enough power for the Xray to get up to speed (a situation which we expect to remedy shortly). Sorefoot’s swelling has reportedly now opened up and drained, leaving him much more mobile and he has since left Kariba town for the greener bush.

 On a subsequent trip to Kariba we treated this zebra stallion, whose front left foot had Applying a dressing to the zebra's footbeen severely damaged around the coronet area, presumably by a snare. Despite digging around, we could not find any evidence of any remaining wire (we appeal to anyone who can get us a powerful handheld metal detector for this purpose). We gave the zebra a 2 week long antibiotic injection, however this case carries a guarded prognosis, as, if the infection is too deep-seated the zebra might lose his hoof in which case he will have to be euthanased.

 This week, together with Chief Inspector Meryl Harrison and Bernard Ndlovu of VAWZ, we immobilised and examined 14 of 44 captive lions at a property in Masvingo that PWMA are looking after. We intend to treat the remaining animals in January. All the immobilised lions received Frontline, de-wormer and vitamin injections, and any injuries found were treated. The seven females that were immobilised had temporary contraceptive injections, since it was decided on welfare grounds that they should not be breeding. Working conditions were extremely difficult due to lack of adequate management pens, and the vets in some cases had to scale fences to gain access to immobilised lions. PWMA are doing a commendable job keeping these lions fed with meat from Montana and Carswell abattoirs, but they face a constant challenge of transporting the meat to the site. In addition there is a lack of drinking water that needs to be urgently addressed. Together with VAWZ, we are appealing to the public so that we can improve the immediate existence of these lions. We need: about 900 metres of piping to pipe water from Lake Kyle to the pens; a water pump; a 5000 or 10 000 litre water tank; diamond mesh fencing and poles to build management pens to allow workers to safely clean the pens; shelters – either wooden platform constructions that the lions can lie on, or cement so that concrete shelters can be built, diesel for transport of meat, and fly traps.       

Eric treating donkey hoofMeanwhile, new vet Eric’s donkey work is going well with a further 300 donkeys having been treated over November and December in Mutare, Chipinge, Birchenough, Buhera, Chivi and Gweru areas. The communities are welcoming this extension service, although some village farmers were surprised to know that donkeys need routine treatment (such as dipping, de-worming, tooth rasping and foot care) like their cattle. We intend to do massive education campaigns together with the donkey clinics in 2011. In Buhera there had been a report of a rabid donkey biting a person, so vaccinating them (for rabies and tetanus) is definitely serving its purpose. Other problem cases included abdominal herniation after a donkey was attacked by a bull, a hyaena bite, blood in the urine, and respiratory distress, as well as all the usual harness, eye and foot problems.

 Ranger training with Pete ClemenceCapacity building: In November Pete Clemence ran a second ranger training course for the graduates of his basic course in Chipinge National Park. Six individuals have passed this course and are showing great promise. We are pleased to hear that a suspected poacher was recently arrested in the area and 5 A-K’s recovered, one inside Chipinge National Park. In December AWARE facilitated a Ranger Training Workshop for PWMA trainers. The workshop was very encouraging and we look forward to assisting the PWMA training programme in 2011, with further courses to be run by Pete and Bryce. 

Education: In November Ashley-Kate Davidson, a conservation biologist, gave two power-point presentations on conservation ecology to the Wildlife Clubs at Arundel Senior School and St Georges Senior School. This is a programme we would like to take to urban schools countrywide, as well as translating it into the vernacular for rural schools. We are appealing for a computer-linked projector in order to perform this professionally. 

 A huge thank-you to all of you who that have helped us this year – your generosity has renewed our faith in people. Don’t forget to renew your membership for 2011, so you can continue to contribute to those that cannot speak for themselves.

 Have a wonderful Christmas and best wishes for 2011!


  • Debby Hart and Debby Davies – their exhibition raised $2634
  • Kariba Town Community
  • Cavan Warren
  • Zoe van Zyl
  • Audra Turner
  • Goliath Safaris
  • Medi-Vet
  • Peptech through SAVE and Helen Fairnie
  • Our members
More about AWARE
AWARE is the only conservation veterinary trust in Zimbabwe run by veterinarians. We focus on the welfare of wildlife and conservation of wildlife habitats. Read more


Address: 16 Southam Road, Greystone Park, Harare, Zimbabwe

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