Elephant rescued from poacher's snare

Written by: Kelly Landen on behalf of Elephants Without Borders

A young bull elephant was sighted with a horrible snare wrapped around his front leg. After an initial assessment, a decision had been made that he would have to be put down. However, considering it was late in the evening and dark, the bull was spared another day. One of the onlookers decided to contact Elephants Without Borders (EWB) to see if there was anything they could do to possibly help the situation…


Young elephant bull with snare.

Although rescue and rehabilitation is not the conservation research organization’s forte, they already planned to have their wildlife vet, Dr. Larry Patterson from the Kalahari Game Services, on hand for field activities that week. EWB Program Manager, Kelly Landen, made a few phone calls to ensure that if the young bull was sighted again, they would be notified. That very same day, as the team was in Chobe National Park, they received the call that the young bull was sighted at Senyanti Campsite’s artificial waterhole. They knew they could not reach the calf within the hour so EWB researcher, Tempe Adams, was called to the scene to keep tabs on the unfortunate bull until the team could get there. Luckily, the bull did not move off and was found drinking near the pan and cooling his horrific injury.

The bull was quickly darted and in 10 minutes the immobilization drug took effect and he went down.

Young elephant bull is darted.

Young elephant bull is darted.

The elephant bull starts to go down as the drug takes effect.

The elephant bull starts to go down as the drug takes effect.

The team jumped in to attend to his leg. The snare was not a simple wire, but a thick wire cable and had obviously not been set to capture big game, like an elephant. A bolt-cutter had to be used to cut if off. The injury was deep, however luckily not all the way to the bone, and infection had not set in. The wound was cleaned and the bull was given an injection of strong antibiotics before he was moved into position for him to get up.

Removing the poacher's snare from the elephants leg.

Cleaning the wound.

A crowd of eager campers only had to wait a few minutes to watch as the bull easily stood up. The crowd cheered as he slowly moved off. An elephant saved from poacher snare is free to live another day – and hopefully for many more years to come!

He's up!

He’s up!

Elephant walks away on his tender leg.

Elephant walks away on his tender leg.

The management team at the campsite has been keeping a watchful eye out for the young bull and he has been regularly sighted returning to the pan. In one week, the swelling in his leg has gone down and his wound appears to be slowly healing. Although it is surely quite painful, this one young bull has been given a second chance.

A week after the snare was removed. The young bull is recovering well.

A week after the snare was removed. The young bull is recovering well.

Close-up of the wound after one week.

The wound after one week.

EWB would like to thank the management team at Senyanti Campsites (and Iris for the update photos), Mike Holding, Ian McMillan, Clive Millar for the original call, Guts from Pangolin for “phone watch” and the campers who eagerly rushed in to grab buckets of fresh water to help clean the wound.

Elephants Without Borders (EWB) is a charity organisation dedicated to conserving wildlife and natural resources through innovative research, education, and information sharing with all people. They encourage mankind to live in harmony with wildlife and the natural world. Considering wildlife don’t use passports, the notion of elephants and ‘conservation without borders’ is crucial for preserving biodiversity and a healthy landscape. Using African elephants as an inspiration, EWB strives to identify wildlife migratory corridors, secure wild habitats and elevate conservation of all wildlife. The largest mammal that walks the earth is now leading the way to help save vast areas of wild lands and the biodiversity they support.

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  • Naz

    Thank you for sharing this info. So happy for the elephant. Great work by all concerned.

  • s

    thank you for the good work , and for sharing

  • s

    thank you so much and for sharing the pic

  • Linda

    Amazing story! heard from Ian McMillan (Mike McMillan Nature Fund). Blessings to this lucky ele boy and Ele ‘Mike’ and the beautiful ‘Judy’. Linda (Judy’s sister)

  • Isibindi Africa Lodges

    Gives one hope to read a story like this. We need more good news like this.

  • Judy Beyer

    That ellie has a story to tell, of despair and courage, and of gratitude.

  • angus

    Good to see the work being done by EWBorders. I’m in hwange and chobe next week producing a piece on the increased ellie poaching throughout Africa for Carte blanche – and Kelly and Mike Chase are scheduled to be part of it (!) Kelly if you see this, please check your emails…I’ll be with you around 12-14th Oct. 🙂

  • Els Montijn

    Great work and indeed good news, so happy his leg is healing..

  • M Hofmeyr

    Fanatastic job, well done!! It’s such a shame that this kind of thing had to happen in the first place!!!

  • Anverali

    Great work. Keep it up.

  • Karen Bullen

    A heart-warming story which shows there are still heroes in this world willing to go the extra mile to save one of Africa’s giants and one of God’s creatures. Well done to all involved – I honour and salute you.

  • Valérie

    It is reassuring to see that there are still people of goodwill on earth. Whenever I see this kind of thing, rage seizes me, all this disgusts me. It should not be that I find myself in front of a poacher, I think I’d be very violent.

  • Eugene

    Can you keep us updated much appreciated

  • Chitrabhanu Thekkedath

    These poachers should be shot dead.

  • Alan Donaldson

    What an amazing story. Great work EWB and everone who participated. A message to the poachers – you are disgusting low life and may you rot in hell.

  • Nick Jones

    Such an uplifting story. I’ve just returned from the Iworry.org anti poaching rally outside the Houses of Parliament in London. Over 1000 of us marched & chanted in an attempt to put an end to this heinous trade in ivory. The story above perfectly illustrates our aims.

    • Jean Hughes

      I was there too. Start of a huge campaign I hope

  • petert12

    That was a wonderful outcome, and it would be likely that the elephant will remember those who saved him. What attempts are being made, one wonders, to trace and punish the perpetrators? Are there any incentives to ‘dob in’ a poacher? pt

  • hippolady

    Amazing. I would like to see the poachers caught in their own snares! Thanks to those of you that are dedicated.

  • Fambly kittens

    May God bless this beautiful animal and may God curse those who sought to do him harm.

  • bett

    Lovely creatures why does man have to be so cruel

  • Tracy

    Wonderful, wonderful saviours !! 🙂 xxx

  • Wendy Hawkins

    Thank you to EWB & all the wonderful people who helped with this beautiful young ellie, that he will hopefully live to a 100years without the worry of being shot. God Bless you all & ellie too. Thanks AG for sharing with us bloggers <3

  • Marta Schneider

    Yes! Thank you all, who rescued baby ele and who took the photos and posted them! I second hippolady’s comments.

  • tippy

    Makes my heart happy to see the work that the people are doing to save the Elephants. Bless them and thank you all So Much…

  • Chloe54

    so glad they called the right people and the elephant got some help, that was a horrific wound. We can’t afford to lose any more elephants and they don’t deserve these injuries but they do deserve the help. Thanks to those who did.

  • Yara Valle

    You are GREAT!!! Thanks and congratulations for the fantastic job!!

  • Sophia Lenferna

    Over 1500 people of different religions & race rallied in Arusha, Tanzania! It was a great turnout! We hope to hear more stories like this! Lets put a stop to Poaching!!!

  • jilliegreenchilli

    THANK YOU. That poor Ele must have been in so much pain – he will certainly never forget your kindness.

  • heather

    Well done to all concerned. A massive thank you on behalf of elephant. Without you’re intervention he would have died a very slow and painful death. Keep up the great work you do. Karma will reach the poachers. I just wish the law could and put them away for a very long time.

  • Lulu Van Pletsen

    Unfortunately this elephant, Sedidi, did not make it. He died about two weeks ago.

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