Poachers on site
It is Wednesday morning and today we are doing the health checks on the yellow baboons. We are walking to our location in the early morning, just when the sun looks through the trees. On our way we meet one of our guards and he is carrying an animal. A Duiker with an open gazing wound in her shoulder, is tied up with laces and is dangling in front of us. The animal is in a complete shock. Our initial team immediately splits up, so one team can help this injured animal and the other team proceeds with the health checks.
Later on the veterinarian explains me that this Duiker is unable to stand and the wound is not fresh. Apparently the animal was chased by poaching dogs and the guards managed to chase the poachers away. It is in the back of our mind that this animal might not survive this stressful situation, however we still discuss the options and combine all our knowledge in order to come up with an effective treatment plan. I visit the animal to see with my own eyes how severe the injury is and how this injury and all the stress is affecting the animal´s health status.
Both her forehand and backhand are weak. The blood flow in her shoulder is not sufficient and her legs feel cold. The wound was cleaned and no fractures were identified. If we try to make her stand, her legs collapse. We wonder how long she has been lying on the ground. Besides the regular medicines she received, I use a combination of oils that stimulate the bloodstream. A combination of juniperus communis, lemongrass and marjorana origanum is mixed and gently applied on her backhand and shoulder blades. While I am applying it I use gentle Ttouches to calm her down and to stimulate the cells. After all, this is a completely wild animal and she should not allow me to this at all. If she wants she can move away, however her breathing goes from shallow to deep, she inhales the scent and her body starts to relax.
Since the day was stressful for her we leave her for the day and come back the next day to check on her. She moved to a different spot, which gives me some hope. Again I repeat the treatment and she let me move her limbs passively which stimulates her blood flow.
I receive a phone call, there is an emergency. A baboon has been spotted running around causing unrest. I stop her treatment for now and leave her behind. The next morning before I have a change to see her again, I got the message that she passed away.
During the autopsy we found many superficial haemorrhages in her tissues around her shoulder blades and on her back legs. One lung is completely shrivelled up, most likely from lying on one side. We also found a dent on her scapula bone. No bullets were found, so maybe she was speared. We will never know what exactly happened, all we know is that this was the work of poachers.