Wildlife Rescue Program


Despite the economic position of Zimbabwe improving in recent times, poaching remains an issue throughout the country. The Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust plays an active roll in the darting and removal of snares from injured or trapped animals, and depending on the situation, the rescue and rehabilitation of those animals.

 

Waterbuck

Kariba Darting



 

In 2009 in the Victoria Falls area Roger Parry darted: 8 elephant, 4 buffalo, 2 impala, 4 warthog, 1 kudu, 1 bush buck, 1 lion and 1 sable.  Eight warthogs and one bushbuck were rescued and then released in the Wild Horizons Orphanage and Sanctuary area, where they now roam free.  

Darting in 2012

By the end of 2011, we darted three warthog, five buffalo, two impala, one waterbuck and seven elephant. We took in one young buffalo calf when its mother had to be euthanized due to a horrendous snare wound, and a young elephant calf with badly septic wounds, which subsequently passed away. The ultimate goal for every animal we rehabiliate is release back into the wild. For more information on our darting activities please click here!

The medicine costs of darting:

Elephant

Etorphine

$110

Axaperone

$2

Dopram

$3

Naltrexone

$20

Total

$135

Buffalo

Etorphine

$90

Azaperone

$8

Dexameth.

$8

Antibiotic

$10

Naltrexone

$10

Total

$126

*Note: these are amounts for darting of one animal and exclude the logistical costs of transport, equipment, first aid supplies, personnel, and time.

 
What does it take to dart an animal that is injured?
When we receive a call reference an injured, abandoned or orphaned animal due to human interference we immediately organize our darting team, and National Parks.  We locate the animal and evaluate the state of the injury and health.  Sadly many animals cannot be saved due to the extent of their injuries but we will assist by at least stopping the pain and the misery.  Nonetheless, we our try utmost to save and rehabilitate them.  We believe it is our duty to help these animals as humans have caused the injuries be it from wire snares, hit by a vehicle, chased from crop raiding, or orphaned when mother’s are poached. 
                Depending on the species, darting of most animals is extremely dangerous.  One drop of the etorphine drug used on most animals can kill a human.   Roger and Jessica have the assistance of one or two people and whilst darting the rest of the team wait.  Once the animal “goes down” from the drugs in the dart the entire team moves in to remove the snare, give anti-biotics, monitor the temperature, breathing, blood pressure, clean out the wound, and take samples. 
                After everything has been completed Roger or Jessica will reverse the drugs used to put the animal to sleep, whilst the rest of the team backs off to a safe distance.  In minutes the animal is alert and moving and a  ranger is left monitoring the animal for a few hours after the darting.  Forwildlife that has extensive injuries or is too young to be released on its own and needs additional care we work together with National Parks to translocate to the orphanage from where the best care can be given. With the recent opening of a laboratory and clinic, the Trust is much better equipped to save injured wildlife.